Bates Bobcast Episode 133: Lacrosse's big week; NCAA Championships preview
The Bates lacrosse teams both defeated Middlebury and entered the national rankings. Plus, we preview the NCAA Championships for skiing and track and field. All that and more, on the Bates Bobcast!
Interviews this episode:
- 1:16 -- Eliza Statile '19, Women's lacrosse (Female Bobcat of the Week).
- 8:07 -- Peter Lasagna, Men's lacrosse head coach.
- 11:09 -- Brendan Mullally '20, Men's lacrosse (Male Bobcat of the Week).
- 20:13 -- Griffin Mueller '20 (Women's alpine skiing) & Kaelyn Woods '20 (Women's Nordic skiing), NCAA Championships preview.
- 31:01 -- Jay Hartshorn, Women's track and field head coach, NCAA Championships preview.
- 41:09 -- Hannah Sweeney '21, Women's tennis.
- 48:04 -- Josh Quijano '19, Men's tennis captain.
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 NCAA skiing and indoor track and field championships! Plus, the lacrosse teams both defeated Middlebury and as a result entered the national rankings. All that and more, coming up, on the Bates Bobcast!
Aaron: The women’s lacrosse team is 3-0 and ranked 16th in the country after an outstanding week that saw the Bobcats win at Wheaton College 16-3 on Wednesday and knock off No. 2 nationally ranked Middlebury 11-10 in overtime on the road Saturday. Bates rallied from four goals down to pick up the win over last year’s NESCAC champion and national runner-up. Senior captain goalkeeper Eliza Statile made a career-high 20 saves in the victory, including a pair of clutch ones down the stretch. Statile earned NESCAC Women’s Lacrosse Player of the Week honors. And she is our Female Bobcat of the Week!
Aaron: Well Eliza, let's talk about the Middlebury game. I mean, we talked before the year, you said it's basically the hardest environment to play in the NESCAC at Middlebury. A long trip. What was the difference this year for the team. You all were down late, but were able to rally and get the victory. What was it like to see that progress from your view in goal?
Eliza: So we really started to believe this year. I think that's something we've been trying to reinforce. One of the mottos that our assistant coach says to us is "Act as if". Act as if we're going to play in May and that we are going to and that we're going to be champions this year. And that's been something that we've really focused on.
Eliza: So stepping onto the field we are like, "We're going to play our game". It's really challenging to play against Middlebury, at home, on their astroturf, when it's cold and they have all their fans there, but we just played our game. And we're really fortunate that we had two games before that to work out a couple of things and we played really well, so I'm so excited.
Aaron: So this surface is specifically different from the other venues?
Eliza: It is. Their astroturf is much bouncier, the ball moves really quick, so it's really fast pace which can be challenging.
Aaron: Alright, so you had a career-high twenty saves, what was working so well for you? You were obviously seeing the ball really well.
Eliza: Definitely. I think I'm really fortunate to have a great group of defenders in front of me. They forced some shots that were challenging for attackers and then most of them I don't even remember. I just tried to find the ball and saw it, and just played naturally.
Aaron: And then late in the game, when you all are down three goals, with a little over two minutes left, what's going through your mind at that point?
Eliza: I think I just said that we have to win. And one of our attackers when we came off, Katie Allard, was like, "We are winning this game". And when you have that in the back of your head, you're not going to let anything in the goal.
Aaron: What was your view of Summer Dias' game winner?
Eliza: I didn't even see it to be honest. I couldn't really watch and then all of a sudden she shot and everyone piled on top of her and it was just really incredible.
Aaron: What was it like right after the game, talking with the coach, and obviously your friends and family and alums who I'm sure were in attendance and what not?
Eliza: It was incredible the amount of texts that came in and all the hugs after the game and it didn't really hit me til we were on the bus headed back and I was like, "Holy Cow, we just beat Middlebury".
Aaron: They were national runner-ups last year, I mean, and the NASCAC has a bunch of teams I know ranked in the top fifteen, twenty, in the country. Did it help that you had two games under your belt?
Eliza: It definitely helped. We really, we're playing a new defense this year, which we really adjusted to and I've loved playing, and we worked out some of the kinks that I think some other teams haven't been able to. It's a real advantage that we go to New Jersey, we went to New Jersey this year, that we played some games and really got to mesh together. We have some new players that are contributing a lot. So that's been really helpful.
Aaron: Was the game-tying goal almost more exciting than the game-winner because it came with what ten seconds left?
Eliza: That was crazy. Avery had no angle, comes in with the lefty shot, it shouldn't have gone in. I don't know how she worked her magic and made it happen, but that was crazy. So twenty seconds left and she made it happen.
Aaron: I know you said you don't remember most of your saves, but the two late have to stand out a little bit, right?
Eliza: I remember the two low saves at the end. And then there was a crazy rebound that kept going out, so there were two saves within probably ten seconds and I was like, "Oh my God, please scoop it up and get it back into the crease".
Aaron: What did Coach Allen say after the game to everyone?
Eliza: He was just so proud of us. It was an incredible feeling. And he also said that this is just the beginning and we can play so much better. And he's really optimistic going into the future, but we need to work and the next game is the most important game.
Aaron: When you were a first-year, you weren't the starter that season, but the team made the NCAA Tournament and it was obviously a great season, I mean it's early in this year, but how does this team maybe compare to that one?
Eliza: Yeah, there's a different feeling this year. We talk about a vibe, and a feeling that we have in the locker room and that's been with us throughout the fall and the winter. And it's very similar to the one we had my freshman year when we went to NCAAs and we got a bid and we ended up playing at home for the NCAAs, so I'm really optimistic that we can go play to some extent like that.
Aaron: Do you feel a significant change in your game at all this year as a senior, your final season in terms of what skills you've been working on, your mentality and what not?
Eliza: I think one thing as a goalie, you can't play afraid. And when you step up against some teams that have been traditionally pretty good in the NESCAC, that's something that's intimidating, and when you have a seven foot tall attacker that's going against you it can be pretty scary, but I'm just trying to relax, and my defense does a good job of making me feel comfortable, eliminating some of the tough shots that they take, so I'm really excited.
Aaron: We talked to some, we have sophomore transfers, Catie Clark and Kathryn Grennon, we talked with Kathryn last week, and you obviously work with Caitie a lot as one of the defenders, what is she bringing to the table?
Eliza: Caitie is awesome. She has helped us out so much and her attitude and positivity is something that's helped JoJo and I, my co-captain a lot this season. After a goal is scored, she calms us down, she shakes it off and says we can get through anything and makes us smile which is a huge contribution to the team and is just rock solid on the left side of the crease and doesn't get beat on one on one D.
Aaron: So up next from the women's lacrosse, you've got what, a non-conference game Sunday, you're finally home though, right? That must be nice.
Eliza: We're finally home. I'm so excited. We have a double header. So we're on the road and then we come back and play against Plymouth State which should be a really competitive game after playing Wesleyan hopefully have some great energy going. They've been traditionally doing really well in the NESCAC so I'm excited.
Aaron: And in terms of the Wesleyan game, another road NESCAC game, what do you know about the Cardinals?
Eliza; So, we played them two years ago and we went into overtime with them. And that was a really competitive game when we were at Wesleyan. They did really well last year in NESCACs and NCAAs, so we have to come up strong. We have to fix some of the mistakes that we had against Middlebury, but I think we can definitely do that if we come out to compete and have this momentum that we've kept with us, I'm really excited.
Aaron: And then just big picture. I mean a win over a team like Middlebury, that's not even something the NCAA tournament team did so how important do you think this is for the program?
Eliza: This is huge. This proves that Bates women's lacrosse can compete and can be one of the top teams in NESCAC which we've always believed, but we haven't been able to completely prove to everyone else around us. And now there's been a huge following and a group of support from our alumni and families which has been really cool.
Aaron: Alright Eliza Statile, our Female Bobcat of the Week and the NESCAC Women's Lacrosse Player of the Week, thanks so much.
Eliza: Thank you.
Aaron: The men’s lacrosse team is ranked 20th in the country after a week that saw the Bobcats win a 10-9 overtime thriller at Babson on Wednesday and follow that up with a 17-10 victory over Middlebury Sunday at Garcelon Field. Juniors Brendan Mullally and Otis Klingbeil combined for 11 goals in the victory. After the game, we caught up with Bates head coach Peter Lasagna.
Aaron: Well coach, the last few times you've played Middlebury it's been a one goal game, basically. Didn't really ....
Peter: And we haven't won.
Aaron: This time though, you did win, and by seven goals. What was the big difference this afternoon compared to maybe previous times?
Peter: I thought Eli Cooper and the wing guys, but Eli won a lot of those himself. I thought he was the difference in the game for us. He just kept getting us possessions, and when you make it, take it, with our offense, we have a chance to outscore you.
Peter: I also though the defense really really shut down Middlebury's O after the first quarter.
Aaron: I was gonna say, Eli, he's been you know been handling faceoffs for you for a few years now, it's been sort of I guess kind of up and down, this was maybe one of his best games yet?
Peter: Yeah, I think so, I think he's continuing to get better. He's worked really hard at it. The other guys that have been here before him, Sam Francis, you know helped make him better. And this young man, Madnick, who is really really really good, is from Glastonbury like Eli is, so they've literally been going against each other their whole lives, so Eli's just been setting him up for a couple years.
Aaron: Nice. And then, Brendan Mullally, monster game ...
Peter: How many did he have?
Aaron: He had a lot, I haven't looked at my phone, he had six or seven and a bunch of assists too, but I mean, what do you see from him and his development where he played some minutes as a first-year, played a lot last year, and this year, just a huge game here.
Peter: Well I think that what we thought we might be able to get on their defense is they're gonna slide really early to match ups they don't like, so if we could run away and handle that pressure and move the ball twice and get the ball in a good feeding spot, that we saw cutting lanes. And that's Brendan's game. He's very intellectual, very cerebral player and he understood those lanes and he got to great spots and our guys got him the ball.
Aaron: Nice to have Otis back on the field huh?
Peter: It really is. It's just so great to have Otis back and you know, he just brings us a lot. He's a threat. He stretches the defense a little bit, and he just does a little bit of everything.
Aaron: I'm gonna ask you about your strategy playing Mitchell Drake first half, Rob Strain second half, you've done that I believe each game so far, what's behind that?
Peter: Yeah, we just, we felt like the whole preseason since we started, they were both playing at really high levels. So rather than choose one, we have two, they have slightly different styles, their strengths and weaknesses actually compliment each other nicely, so why not give 'em both an opportunity to play. And they both helped us win today.
Aaron: Anyone else stand out in this game that we haven't talked about?
Peter: I thought Frankie Spitz did a really nice job everywhere that he was and I thought that a couple of our D middies, Jack Golden, the freshman, and R.J. Sarka #24, and Walker Cooney #51 did a great job. I thought Matt Chlastawa, I don't know what his points were, but he just, he made the right play, you know, most of the time. And sometimes that's double-assists for Matt, but he just sees the field and they played zone a little bit, and he had a lot to do with us getting really good looks against the zone.
Aaron: Wesleyan coming up in a week right, or less than a week now I guess, what's the key knocking off the defending national champs?
Peter: Yeah, well just practice our zone offense a lot. We like it, we're comfortable, and we look forward to having a week to prepare for a really good team.
Aaron: Peter Lasagna, thanks a lot.
Peter: Thank you Aaron.
Aaron: Mullally finished with a career-high six goals and a career-high five assists. His 11 points are the most for a Bobcat in one game since Matt Chlastawa’s record-tying 13 points in the 2017 NCAA tournament. And Brendan Mullally is our Male Bobcat of the Week!
Aaron: Middlebury I know they've been kind of the thorn in the side for the men's lacrosse team the past few years, so how satisfying was that win on Sunday?
Brendan: It was incredible. It was great to get a win, especially against those guys. I have some history with Middlebury. My mom actually attended Middlebury and it was one of my top schools as I was going through the college process and they ended up passing on me and it was just a great feeling to be able to get 'em back a little bit there. So that was awesome.
Aaron: So they ended up passing on you, so extra motivation every time you play them right?
Brendan: Exactly. Yeah yeah yeah, I mean it's a great team win, but a great personal victory as well. Just being able to stick it to 'em.
Aaron: For sure and then I'll mention that during the college search process, what made Bates attractive to you?
Brendan: Well I really really just like Coach Lasagna, first and foremost. I came here in the summer, I did a visit, I really enjoyed the campus. I enjoyed the close knit community and Coach Lasagna just really did a great job of laying out exactly what Bates and the lacrosse program at Bates is all about. And he really made it seem like it was a close-knit community. It was similar to my high school experience, just very, small team, small community and just made me just feel comfortable with being here and in Lewiston, Maine.
Aaron: For sure. Okay, so your first year on campus, the team makes a run to the NCAA Quarterfinals, was undefeated in the regular season, how crazy was that for you to step on campus and have that happen?
Brendan: It was pretty awesome. Yeah, it's just a credit to the senior class that year, they were obviously an incredible, both on the field and just incredible guys off the field as well. Just making us feel comfortable and just establishing a culture of Bates lacrosse just working hard and never being outworked. That was one thing that they really instilled in us and I think we've carried it on throughout our time here.
Aaron: What particularly was opening up for you on Sunday, cause it's career high in goals and a career high in assists as well.
Brendan: Well, I mean, honestly, it was just our offense. It starts first with Eli Cooper, he's the game MVP. That's been one of the biggest issues we've had, especially against Middlebury, is just winning face offs and getting those extra possessions. And on Sunday we were able to get those extra possessions and our offense was just doing what we were supposed to do. We had a very specific game plan put in place, dodge, draw a slide, get it to the next guy, either a dodge or look at the crease. It was just really fun playing, that's pretty much the biggest difference. We had a lot of fun and we were just doing what we were supposed to do and got everyone involved and it was just an amazing game overall.
Aaron: I noticed you like to do some behind-the-back moves. Tell us about how those developed.
Brendan: Yeah, I had a nickname in high school. My coaches called me Mr. Conventional. Because I'd always find the most conventional way to put the ball in the net. Obviously they called me that sarcastically. It just kind of stemmed from when I was in high school, like basically my coaches told me, when you're on the crease like, keep the stick in your right hand. Like, for me especially, my left hand isn't as developed as I might like it to be, I'm still working on that, but just especially on the crease, sometimes we gotta put the ball in. It's not always gonna be the best angle, or the most easy way to get it in, but sometimes the behind the back shots are the way to go, although Coach Lasagna would definitely like me to take maybe a few less of those.
Aaron: Well, speaking of that, I mean last year we never really got to talk to you about it, but obviously top play on SportsCenter in that Keene State game, behind the back pass, to a behind the back goal. You had the behind the back goal part of that, you guys plan that in advance or that just kind of it happened?
Brendan: No, actually, me and Matt had done that a few times in practice, and it just kind of ended up working out. He threw the pass to me and I was already planning on shooting it behind the back before he threw it, but he threw it to me and I was like alright well if this goes, this'll be cool, if not I'll be hearing about it from Coach Lasagna, so. Just lucky enough that it went in and obviously is a credit to you too for getting that on film. Like if that's not on your camera, then that's not making it on Sports Center, so thank you for you as well.
Aaron: Yeah, no problem. That was obviously a lot of fun. And then you know, mentioning chemistry with Matt and everything, you got a new guy on attack with you this year though, Otis Klingbeil, who was hurt last year, he's a junior, how cool to see him score five goals on Sunday?
Brendan: It was incredible. There's no one on this team who works harder than Otis, and no one who deserves the success that he had on Sunday more than him. His brutal injury in the fall and it prevented him obviously from the entire season last year, he was playing his freshman year, and I mean we all knew he's this good. We all knew that he was capable of putting up these numbers day in and day out and it's just really exciting that he got a chance to go out there and prove it and do it. And it's all the more exciting for him just to see all that hard work and all that rehab pay off and make him have such a great day.
Aaron: You have a big week of practice coming up because you've got the defending national champs coming to town on Saturday, Wesleyan, these games have been really close too over the years, right?
Brendan: Yeah, no, I mean Wesleyan is definitely our biggest recent rival, and I mean we've obviously had some recent history with them in the past two season and we'd definitely like to come in and give them a little bit of a scare at least.
Aaron: What's the key to attacking their defense?
Brendan: Well they play a strong zone, they're a huge zone team. I think just same thing that we did against Middlebury, just getting the ball inside, I think that's gonna be a huge key for us. If we can get the ball inside and get them to really worry about us inside, I think that will open up our outside shooters like Matt Kelleher or Curtis Knapton, Otis, obviously those guys can sling the ball from outside. So I think if we can just run our offense, try and get some inside looks early, I think it'll open everything up against them.
Aaron: Growing up, when did you start playing lacrosse?
Brendan: I started playing when I was about five years old. Yeah, I was definitely a lot earlier than most people. But, that's just credit to where I grew up and where I'm from. Lacrosse is a very big deal and yeah, I started playing it was either T-Ball or Fiddlesticks Lacrosse, and my parents, neither of them played lacrosse, so they said hey, "Let's give it a try". And it ended up working out.
Aaron: You ever play any other sports or was that your sport?
Brendan: I did play other sports. I played soccer, I wrestled, and I also swam for awhile.
Aaron: What made lacrosse your favorite going forward?
Brendan: I mean it definitely had a lot to do with the culture of where I grew up. Lacrosse is huge. A lot of guys from both my high shool and neighboring high schools all play Division I and it's similar to like football in Texas sort of environment. Where we'd be at a Friday game and there'd be 2,000 - 3,000 people for just your average, run of the mill, high school game. So, definitely made just the whole atmosphere, I really enjoyed that aspect of it. And it's just a fun game. It's fun game to play, it's a fun game to watch, and I really just enjoy every time I'm out there. Whether it's practice, just hitting the wall, just something I really enjoy doing.
Aaron: And are you from Baltimore proper or kind of in the area?
Brendan: No, I'm from Baltimore, it's Baltimore on my address.
Aaron: I got ya, nice. And so obviously lacrosse as you mentioned, huge there. You know, so this season for you, what have you been working on in terms of taking your game to the next level? Because you got to play a lot more last year than in the previous season and now you're continuing on it seems like an even bigger role.
Brendan: Yeah, I mean, the things I've been working on, just the things I've been working on since freshman year, I've been trying to work a lot more on just getting more involved with the dodging game. I've been playing a lot of off ball, that's been traditionally where I have been in my lacrosse career. But, just playing more attack and just developing that chemistry with Matt and just playing those two man games. Those are starting to open some things up and just working more on that and being more of a threat to dodge and score and maybe pass a little bit more than just being an off ball and cutter and just bothering guys on the crease.
Aaron: Excellent, so any other thoughts on this Sunday win over Middlebury?
Brendan: I mean, nothing much, then it's just a great team win overall. I mean the defense played out of their minds. They got some stops, they won us some possessions that we might have not deserved, and like I said, Eli Cooper as well and Chris Costello on the wing too, he's traditionally, normally one of those face off guys, but Coach Lasagna made the very savvy move of putting him out on the wing and it really paid off. We, I mean those extra possessions are huge and when we can score goals and get the ball right back it's very demoralizing to the other team, so I just want to emphasize that it was a fantastic team win and it was just a lot of fun to be there. And I was lucky enough to be the beneficiary of some great play.
Aaron: Excellent, Brendan Mullally, Male Bobcat of the Week, thanks so much.
Brendan: Thank you very much Aaron.
Aaron: Women’s Nordic skiing captain Kaelyn Woods and women’s alpine captain Griffin Mueller are headed to the NCAA Championships for the second straight season! NCAAs get underway Wednesday in Stowe, Vermont with the 5K freestyle race. Last year, Woods finished 23rd in the freestyle race and 26th in the classical technique race. Meanwhile, Mueller took took 22nd in the slalom and 30th in the giant slalom. We chatted with Woods and Mueller about traveling to NCAAs together...again.
Aaron: Well Kaelyn we'll start with you because this course in Vermont, you told me earlier this year, this is one of your favorite courses to race on. What makes this course so great for Nordic skiing in your opinion?
Kaelyn: I really like this course because it skis really well. It has a lot of good hills and I really like that, especially when it comes to classic, there's a lot of really nice big hills to stride up. I feel like I'm better at that so that's really nice.
Aaron: And then Griffin, from the alpine perspective, I know this is pretty tough during the carnival season, I don't know, what do these hills play like?
Griffin: The Stowe hill is great, it's always in great condition. It's kind of on the slalom, it rolls over three times, with the last one being the steepest. So, it's exciting and there's always a lot of action on it.
Aaron: This is different from the carnival season because there's a day between the events for each of you. So you get to watch the other person compete. What's that experience like based on last year?
Griffin: It's really exciting, before last year, I had never really watched a full Nordic race. It's really fun to see all the other teams out there and getting to cheer on Kaelyn and see how the race day plays out for the other side of our team.
Aaron: How do you go about watching a Nordic race?
Griffin: I go about watching a Nordic race by getting really excited and chasing Kaelyn around and disrupting her focus and then I try to run up and down as many switchbacks as I can so that I can see her the most number of times and, cause they just pass you, but they're still going. It's not like in alpine you just get to see them once. I think as much viewing time as you can. It's really fun.
Aaron: Excellent, and then Kaelyn, what's it like watching Griffin in the alpine?
Kaelyn: Watching alpine's really fun. It kind of brings me back to my alpine racing days when I was younger. So that's always fun to go back to that and kind of watch that. As Griffin said, it's definitely different than watching a Nordic race, because you only really see them once and it's for a split second. So just trying to get on the hill in the best possible position to see them for the longest amount of time, you can't really run up and down the hill because they're only going by once. Just trying to get into that position where you can see them for the longest possible time.
Aaron: So Kaelyn used to do some alpine racing, did you ever do any Nordic racing?
Griffin: I was on a Nordic team when I was really little in Telluride. We were called the Snow Cats, and we did a lot of like fun stuff, but mostly I remember just having Nordic skis on, but just playing in the snow.
Aaron: Gotcha. Back to the race course and everything. Last year it was out in Colorado, what lessons did you take away from that experience competing in nationals last year that you're gonna take into this year?
Griffin: Coming out of last year, I think, it's really important for me that I'm just as excited, but I know that it's just a race and I've done everything I can to get here, so I just have to do the same thing and go and not freak out at all.
Aaron: Kaelyn, is it similar for you in terms of last year, in the excitement level, coming back for a second time?
Kaelyn: Yeah definitely. It's definitely nice to have one under your belt. You know what to expect kind of going into the races. You know kind of the level of competition, but also just trying to stay in the mindset of you know it's just another race. I mean it is nationals, but just another race, you're racing against a lot of people you've raced against all year, nothing's different. So kind of just trying to keep that mindset throughout.
Aaron: And from a Nordic perspective, one of the races will be a mass start and the other won't be. What's the different approach you take to those two types of races?
Kaelyn: Yeah so, last year, we had a 5k classic race and a 15k mass start skate race. So, it's different this year in that we're doing a 5k skate and a 15k mass classic, so distances are going to be different. It's nice to kind of do mass starts throughout the season, especially having done a mass start this season at Traips is really beneficial because it has a tricky kind of start, you kind of go down and you bang a 180 left hander, so it's nice to have that, but you kind of just have to relax. This way you start a mass start is all based on points and seeding and so, during the regular season you know I was kind of up toward the front. It'll be different now that we're in nationals, cause there's a whole new way of kind of starting everyone. So just trying to be kind of you know relaxed and just get through that little point and then just kind of like pick people off as you go.
Aaron: Excellent. Griffin, do you enjoy having the day between the events or is it just like you want to get them over with as quickly as possible?
Griffin: Yeah, I really enjoy it. We actually, the days off, we get to watch our Nordies and we have like scheduled training, so like the East region as a region will go up on the race hill and get in a lot of time to train on the hill. So that's really fun cause not only is it prep for the race, but that's really good training and a really high environment, so that you kind of get a feel for what's it going to be like on race day. You know that like, I'm most comfortable on my skis, so when I'm sitting around, that's when I get overly excited or nervous, but when I'm on my skis everything's good.
Aaron: We won't get into the details of the convoluted nature of the selection process, but I understand you weren't quite sure after the Bates Carnival if you were going to make it until your coach Micaela Holland told you you were, right?
Griffin: Yeah, I though that I was, I knew I was close, I thought I was on the bubble, I thought I had to perform a little better at the Bates Carnival and my teammates who saw me after first run got that impression got that impression from my face, but it was all good, what I had done earlier in the season had set me up well.
Aaron: Yeah, what was the sense of relief when Micaela told you that you were fine?
Griffin: I was really excited and I guess it was just reassuring to know that I didn't need to come into that day with a lot of pressure on myself.
Aaron: Kaelyn, I mean, you probably knew you were pretty safe coming into the Bates Carnival, what were your thoughts going into the last event there?
Kaelyn: Yeah, I mean, I was kind of at the beginning of the season riding the bubble a little bit like Griffin, which means that you're just like lower in the points standings, but after the UVM Carnival and then following that Middlebury, yeah, just trying to improve my points and just trying to stay where I was. Points are really confusing, but just to stay in terms of results, staying in front of the people who are behind me, because that offsets points. But going into Bates Carnival, I wanted to have a really solid skate race because I knew I could improve my points in that, so just trying to go out kind of get those points and then also obviously perform in the classic, but just kind of know in the classic race that I had those points. So just trying to be able to relax which was the second day which was really nice. So I just kind of relaxed, had fun, but also just trying to get the result.
Aaron: And then Griffin, we had Hannah West on the show a few weeks ago, and talked about how she's done really well in the GS and trying to improve her slalom. Its sort of the opposite for you right? You qualified because of your slalom performances. What makes the races different? What makes the GS, at least maybe for you personally, a little more challenging?
Grffin: The different events are I would say, my preference towards them is based on a long history getting more slalom turns in than I did GS and really having an affinity for short radius turn. I think different people find their strengths in their weaknesses within, for me GS is hard, there's more room in between the gates for me to think about what's going on and what I'm doing. And that typically screws me up. The best I'm gonna do is a course where there's no time to think and it's all muscle memory from the work I've been putting in like in the preseason and early into the winter.
Aaron: Excellent, and then, continuing your thoughts on your second trip and you two going, I know you're good friends, going together again.
Kaelyn: It's really exciting, I remember, I guess last weekend at Bates Carnival, I kind of already knew that Griff had kind of gotten in there, but she didn't really know that yet.
Aaron: Everyone knew except her.
Kaelyn: Yeah, which is fine, but it was fun to kind of watch that all unfold and watch her kind of you know be surprised, but also kind of having the reassurance, she put in the work to get there and I'm really excited to go back for a second year with her.
Aaron: Excellent, same thing for you, any other thoughts on returning with the same team basically?
Griffin: It's really exciting. At Middlebury, actually because the courses are so close, Kaelyn got to come watch us and that was where I had my result that really got me in there and I came up to her in the finish and she was just like, "Took you long enough, you were starting to scare me". So, that was really fun and kind of started us on this journey again so we're really excited.
Aaron: Alright, NCAA Skiing Championships start Wednesday. Kaelyn Woods and Griffin Mueller, thanks so much
Aaron: Sticking with the NCAA Championships, the Bates track and field program is sending six athletes to Boston this weekend to hopefully wrap up the indoor season with some All-American finishes. Sophomore John Rex makes his first trip to NCAAs as the only underclassmen who qualified to compete in the weight throw. Meanwhile, the women’s team will compete in the distance medley relay, with sophomore Vanessa Paolella, sophomore Amanda Kaufman, first-year Elise Lambert and senior captain Ayden Eickhoff comprising Bates' sixth DMR team to compete at NCAAs in the past eight years. Senior Katie Barker, coming off an All-American season in cross country, will compete in the 3,000-meter run and Eickhoff will run the 800 meters. Women’s head coach Jay Hartshorn previews nationals.
Aaron: Tell us a little bit about the Last Chance Meet. It seems like maybe in previous years, the Last Chance Meet, you've sent a couple of athletes and it may not have made a huge difference. This year it made all the difference in the world, especially with the DMR team right?
Jay: Yeah, and I was hoping really not to run them, and then I looked at the entries and realized we had a couple extra teams coming from outside the region. So I was like, we gotta get back out on the track and they did, they adjusted from me being like, "No, we're not gonna run" to like, "No this has to happen", really quickly. And so that's how we made it in the meet and they're excited to be there and I think the really good thing was for some of them, it was just a little more experience because that race, the last chance meet, was a national level race, and there was 14 teams on the track, so it was crowded and messy and so a little bit of a preview of what it will be like this weekend.
Aaron: Tell us about the team members comprising the DMR.
Jay: So as of like three years ago, the NCAA kind of changed how they did relays. Before the people that qualified, that was your relay. You got one alternate, and then anybody who was like already in the meet for something else. Now they did the relay just like you would kind of at any meet. Like you have a time and then you can put whoever you want in that relay. So we sort of had a plan of how we were gonna give people like the best opportunities, see where they stood. We had a lot of people that could have been on this relay, which is like a really good problem to have, but then we ended up with Vanessa and Amanda and Elise and Ayden as the ones that were running in nationals this weekend.
Aaron: Three of those four are underclassmen. That's gotta be pretty encouraging.
Jay: Yeah, well those, the first three, have never been to nationals before, so, but that's also why it felt really important to get a relay, and you know Elise also qualified individually in the 800, but we're just running one event, because they're pretty close back to back. Ayden is running the 800 and the DMR mile but she's a senior and really ready for it. But it's really fun to like have that experience with three people who've never been to nationals and then Katie and Ayden obviously have been, and this is Katie's first track nationals, so that's fun.
Aaron: Yeah, Katie Barker coming off an All-American season in cross country looking to do what Katherine Cook did a little bit last year right?
Jay: This is a really weird year, because they added numbers to the whole meet, which is really great, because you get awesome representation, although all of our people would have made it under last year's numbers. But three more per event beyond the relays, the relays are at twelve, going from seventeen to twenty on the women's side and fifteen to twenty on the men's side, that makes a big difference. And with that job to twenty, the 3k for the first time has a trials.
Jay: Yeah, so it changes stuff and therefore last year, like people who had run like Katherine in the 3k and the 5k, if it was, that was the same schedule last year, she would have never run both. So we're starting to see the distance runners dividing up a little bit more. The doubles not being quite as possible. So it actually brought in a ton more athletes to the meet and we felt much more confident where Katie was sitting last weekend in terms of like, "You got it, you'll get in" because people are gonna have to choose to get out of it. So we'll see with running trials and finals. Hopefully, it's a good problem. If you make it to Saturday, you're feeling pretty good and then anything can happen. And that would be the goal.
Aaron: Nationals in the past years has been in the midwest and then the south, this time it's just a drive down to Boston. Do you like that it's such short trip or do you like hopping on the plane going to the far away states?
Jay: Both, I liked the planning of this because it take my whole Sunday to figure out how do I get cross country, it was like how do we get twenty people on an airplane in two days. And you don't have to go through all the logistics and negotiation with that. The tricky thing is, it's not a super easy place to get to in Boston. So we actually just did AirBnB and like men and women, we're all gonna stay together in one big apartment, and we'll you know hopefully play some Uno and see if we like each other at the end, but it's a good, it'll be a good drive that we can like, if Katie runs at Noon, or around there on Friday, we can all just go get her ready, watch her, and then be able to come back really easily and chill. So logistically it's different being in a big city, but I think in terms of, most years, we also need to rebook flights, because of snow and all that kind of stuff, so not having to deal with that is pretty awesome.
Aaron: And the Reggie Lewis Center is a banked track, and that's a little different.
Jay: We've just sort of started dabbling in Division III with having Nationals on a banked track. So this will be our, I think third time, over on a banked track. At first, it was sort of like, a little bit of pushback from people who didn't get on banked tracks, like, "We never run on banked tracks and it's not fair", but, it's not, you run a couple laps, and you go, "Oh, this is weird", but like I like it weird, not like it's bad weird. So now to be in a venue that like seats, I don't know, maybe 5,000 people or something, is just a lot better. What they don't have, which some other places have, is they don't really have a great warm up track situation. I think they've run professional meets there, and they're like, "If the pros can figure it out, you can figure it out". I think is their stock answer. But sometimes you're at these indoor facilities that they might have a brand new indoor facility on campus, but they have an old indoor facility and so your warmup is a little bit better in that kind of place.
Aaron: Team scoring at nationals is so interesting to me because I remember one year, I think it might have been last year or two years ago, a school won a national title with like one person getting all their points. Things can really, the scoring is kind of interesting isn't it?
Jay: Yeah, well we only score you know score through eight. So if you have, if you get twenty points, we either got twenty or twenty one last year, you're kind of, you know you're like in business.
Jay: Because, so if you have one kid, like a thrower that wins both, you're like wow, like we might come in eighth. We've been in that situation before for sure, but, yeah, last year there was a sophomore actually from UMASS Boston who is the host, who basically won nationals by herself. She did have some teammates that pulled through and scored more points, but they didn't even need those points, they just needed her points. And she actually went to a Division I school this year, that make sense. It's exciting, she's doing really well there, so, it's cool to be like she ran Division III, what's happening now.
Aaron: It's a little more wide open at the top then this year, right?
Jay: Yeah, I think this is a year that, I haven't been following it like too too much, but when you look at all the rankings come in, it's gonna come down to like, oh, that maybe that kid on that really good team that had that surprising performance and just put them over the edge, but I don't think you're gonna see any team score like a ton of points. I think it's gonna be really really tight. A number of years ago, there was a team that scored liked 100 points at Nationals. That's like a dual meet score, you're like, "How did that even happen?"
Jay: Now we're gonna be back down to earth sort of in the thirties and you know people sort of scraping it together on volume of kids being there.
Aaron: You mentioned the five women who are there. Of course the men's team did get John Rex in there for the weight throw, that's gotta be nice to see more of a representation for Bates there on the men's side as well.
Jay: Yeah, it's always more fun to have men and women. I don't know if he'll feel the same way, being like, I'm just surrounded by women the whole time, but they'll make it work. But it is better to have both teams represented and that's kind of like what we're used to and I think a goal for both of us for like both programs to be there an experience it and as a sophomore this will be a great experience for him. It's a really upperclassmen heavy event. It's also probably the most competitive year ever in the men's weight throw. Coach Fereshetian told me that and then I looked through it and I was like, "Wow, I cannot believe how far these throws are". And like Johnny's throw, we're like "that's a great throw", and to be like at the end of that order is pretty crazy.
Aaron: We've seen Bates throwers rise up in their seeding before though I think so.
Jay: Yeah we have, and I think that would be his goal, obviously to beat the seeding and New England they've had really good competition the whole entire year and then probably look around and be like okay so they'll graduate and see that window open for next year. But he certainly trains like really really hard and has put a lot of effort into, from not just this year, but like from the day he stepped on campus, so it's exciting.
Aaron: Great, well any other thoughts on what you're looking forward to most this upcoming weekend?
Jay: I think being in three events again is always fun, or four, when you add Johnny to have like more things going on and more representation. We're gonna have a few more fans than we normally would, just because of the proximity and where people are from and lots of parents being able to get up and come out and then a couple of people from our team will come so that'll be nice. So I guess, mostly, just feeling like it's a little more like home and that'll be just easier travel and easier for our fans to get there.
Aaron: Excellent, NCAA Championships, this weekend, Jay Hartshorn thanks so much.
Jay: Thank you.
Aaron: The women’s tennis team split a pair of matches at Merrill Gym over the weekend. Bates defeated Mount Holyoke 8-1 on Saturday before falling to No. 19 nationally ranked Brandeis 8-1 on Sunday. Sophomore Hannah Sweeney continues to impress, teaming with first-year Anna Rozin to win 8-1 in doubles on Saturday, and going undefeated at No. 1 singles, defeating her opponent from Mount Holyoke 6-0, 6-3 and her opponent from Brandeis 7-6, 6-4.
Aaron: Hannah Sweeney with us here on the Bobcast talking some women's tennis and Hannah lets talk about the trip to Florida to start the season in the spring here. Because the last year, and the previous years before that, obviously went to California, and this time taking on for women a Division I team and also a Division II team, what was that experience like?
Hannah: Yeah, it was a great trip this year to Florida. I had a lot of fun. The weather was awesome. Definitely a lot warmer than it is out in California at this time of year. And it was also a really cool experience we got to train at the USTA National Center and there were a lot of other collegiate teams there, some high level tennis which was super cool.
Hannah: We had two really good matches, one against Rollins, one against Oakland. They're DI and DII and it was a good experience because we had to played the DI and the DII regulations for those matches which is different than our normal matches. But it's a good experience and it makes the matches definitely shorter but more intense. It's good mental training if anything. Yeah, so overall Florida is awesome and we always have a great time just getting away and hitting outside, so it was great.
Aaron: Well yeah, you mentioned the different rules. How much does that impact the matches at all in terms of the scoring and what not.
Hannah: Yeah, so it's a no ad. And then for all the matches and then also doubles, is shortened as well, so it's definitely you know, puts more pressure on the closer points and it also makes the matches go by a lot faster which has its pluses, you know you're off the court, you know it's not a four hour match.
Hannah: So you're more like a two hour match. But it's good mental training just because you know at the deuce points you really have to settle in and focus and you know, get it done.
Aaron: You stepped in this year, at #1 singles, what's that transition been like in terms of, I know you've played a little bit in the past, but what's that been like, knowing every match you're gonna be playing the other team's top player.
Hannah: Yeah, at the end of the day, and I think I learned this as a freshman, cause I did mix it up where I played a little bit last year, every point matters. Especially when you're in the NESCAC, every team is so strong and so deep that you're really never gonna have an easy match whether you're playing one or you're playing six. Every match is important and it's gonna be tough and gotta go out there and give it all you have, so it's been awesome to play one. I really love the opportunity and I think it comes with leadership and that's awesome, so at the end of the day, a match is a match though.
Aaron: For sure. And you have a new doubles partner this year, a first-year, Anna Rozin. I know you play with her a bit in the fall also, and now in the spring. What's that transition been like working with her?
Hannah: Yeah, Anna's awesome. It's been great. We've got an awesome freshman class this year. It's been super fun to kind of start in the fall and grow as a team so far. And we have so many matches ahead of us. And we even talked about that this weekend that we're really excited for being able to develop our strategies more and our, just our general composition on the court and I'm really ... having a freshman partner is awesome because you kind of get to start from zero and work your way, and build upon skills and grow as a team so it's been a lot of fun. I'm excited.
Aaron: You're a sophomore yourself, and so what do you remember about your first year, have you talked to Anna about what it takes to kind of make the transition from high school to college. I know she's coming from Canada so it might be a little bit different, but how much do you talk to her about that?
Hannah: Yeah, we've talked about it a lot and I definitely try as a sophomore you know you're still an underclassman, but I think sophomores and freshmen on the team have a really special dynamic where you can kind of show them what you learned your freshman year and kind of take what the upperclassmen taught you in previous years and kind of bestow it upon them. And I had a sophomore doubles partner for the whole season last year and she was awesome to me and really gave me a lot of confidence and really helped me grow as a teammate and as a tennis player as well. So I'm trying to do the same and kind of just take what the upperclassmen showed me in the past.
Aaron: Excellent, well this past weekend obviously, some home matches, indoor, at Merrill, obviously, not outdoor. Going from outdoor to start the season in Florida and now back to indoor. How does that change things if at all?
Hannah: Yeah, I mean, it was nice to be in Florida for a time being. Like I said, the center we played at was beautiful, state of the art. You know but, the thing is, when you play outside and you come back inside, you feel fitter, stronger, faster. And it definitely can be an advantage in Merrill, our home courts, and you know, people sometimes struggle with them. Just the surface can be funky and, but we love that. We love to have the home advantage when we have people cheering and the crowds, it's awesome. I enjoy the home matches, I think they're really fun.
Aaron: And then, NESCAC play starting up this weekend at Connecticut College, what are, does the team have any goals in mind this year for NESCAC play and whatnot, that you've kind of set with team captain Bella Stone or anything like that?
Hannah: Yeah, I mean the NESCAC is always so tough, so deep, through and through, I think this season coming in we have a lot of confidence. This is definitely a team that is really excited about what the season has to offer and every NESCAC team is tough and we go out there and we know that and respect them and we know what it takes, but we are really excited and I think we're really optimistic with what the season has from there.
Aaron: Alright, Hannah Sweeney, thanks so much for joining us on the Bobcast, appreciate it.
Hannah: Thank you.
Aaron: The men’s tennis team also split a pair of home matches. The No. 23 nationally ranked Bobcats defeated Wheaton 9-0 on Saturday before falling 7-2 to 10th ranked Brandeis on Sunday. Senior captain Josh Quijano teamed with junior Jacob Kauppila at No. 1 doubles and split a pair of matches. Quijano really shined at No. 1 singles, winning 6-4, 6-1 on Saturday and 6-7, 6-0, 6-1 on Sunday.
Aaron: Talking some men's tennis with senior captain Josh Quijano here on the Bobcast and Josh first of all lets talk about the trip to Florida, a little different then the past years right? Previously went to California, this time going down to Florida at really nice complex I understand. Tell us about how that trip playing against Division II schools has helped you prepare for the season coming up.
Josh: Yeah, so it was a lot different this year, cause we usually go down to California, but that flight is like six to eight hours, just doing that in itself is like a day trip. When we got down to Florida, the weather was great. The biggest difference I think, and that actually helped us a lot was practice. We did two a day practice, so we practiced in the morning and practiced in the afternoon and we couldn't really do that in California, so we got a lot of reps in and then when we played our matches down there we were super ready for it. It was just a great trip.
Aaron: And then you have a new doubles partner this year in Jacob Kauppila. He was obviously an All-American with Ben Rosen last season. What's it like playing with him?
Josh: Yeah, he's a monster. He brings so much energy that it kind of surprised me. I love playing with him. I think we mesh super well. And doubles is all about energy. So like me and him together, he brings out a lot of energy from me and we're just all over the net. And he knows what he's doing, obviously he's an All-American, so he's helping me along too. So it's been great.
Aaron: You enjoying playing #1 singles this year?
Josh: Yeah, I mean that was always the goal. I love it. The competition at this level, like no matter what you play, in the lineup, but just saying you're #1 is pretty cool. And I think I've been able to step up and I've been able to grow as person too, so it's been awesome.
Aaron: And then in terms of sports in the lineup, I know, when I talked to squash players, there's all those challenge matches and what not. Is tennis the same way?
Josh: Yeah, so we had our challenge matches before the season started. I'm sure lineups could change during the season if things don't go well, if someone gets injured or something like that. But, for the most part I think it's pretty set. And if there's any like discrepancies like our team's super open this year, like we'll talk to each other so, we'll see what happens.
Aaron: So as one of the senior captains along with Duane and Dylan Davis, what's that been like so far?
Josh: It's been great. There's a lot of responsibility involved, but I mean the guys on the team have made it super easy for us. We set our goal this year to be number one. Obviously this loss to Brandeis is a tough one. They are a top ten team, but we can't have that as an excuse if we're gonna be number one, right? But, so we're gonna have a team meeting and talk about it, but it's not really gonna stop us, it's just gonna encourage us more to work harder and train harder.
Aaron: You mentioned the responsibilities, what are some of those that the captains have to take charge of?
Josh: So the main thing is just practices, like being focused in practice, what's our goal in practice. Sometimes, even in my case, I kind of lose track of what's going on, so as captains, Duane and Dylan are there to also help out and then we get the team going on the same path, and then so that's what we do.
Aaron: I noticed the other day at Merrill you were hitting with Anna Rozin on the women's team, how much interaction, practicing together, men and women, is there in the tennis world?
Josh: Yeah, so there's not too much. But definitely we do practice with them, like when some people can't hit on the guys team, or the girls team can't hit. It's not really that, like one team tries to keep away, it's just that we have like an even line up so all the guys have someone to hit with. I mean all the girls are amazing, so hitting with Anna Rozin actually helped me for this match over the weekend so it was awesome.
Aaron: You've had some success here at #1 singles, tell us about some of the matches you've played over the weekend and what was working for you out there.
Josh: Over the weekend I had an incredible singles time, I mean I was able to beat both my opponents, but the biggest thing was really just being focused every point. Coach does a really good job of letting us know that it's not about the whole match, it's about each single point, and then it'll add up. I think I did a good job of not really looking at the whole thing, but just focusing one at a time and you know the saying, "The way to eat a cow is to take it piece by piece", so yeah.
Aaron: I don't know if it was the Brandeis match or if it was the three setter, right, that's obviously gotta take a lot of the energy out of you right?
Josh: Yeah, my body's beat up, but we had a day off yesterday and I think it was nice. I gotta get a little hit in today. But just a little bit cause my body's still beat up. I am growing old, so.
Aaron: You know moving forward in NESCAC play obviously you're a senior now, what have you learned over the years about the quality of that NESCAC competition? You know up and down, anyone can beat anybody.
Josh: Oh yeah, totally. I mean the NESCAC in tennis at least is the hardest league there is in the DIII, but we love it. Like I mean we have the #1, #2, #7, #11 and we're gonna be up there too this year. Every match is gonna count and that's what's gonna make our team to the next level is playing these matches.
Aaron: Excellent, Josh Quijano, thanks so much for joining us on the Bobcast. Appreciate it.
Josh: Thank you.
Aaron: Junior Luca Polgar, senior captain Vicky Arjoon, junior Graham Bonnell and sophomore Omar Attia competed at College Squash Association individual nationals over the weekend. Polgar had another solid run, advancing to the Holleran West semifinals.
Aaron: Next time on the Bates Bobcast, we’ll recap how our skiers and track and field athletes do at the NCAA Championships, plus we’ll tell you how the men’s lacrosse team does against defending national champion Wesleyan. Faceoff is set for 1pm Saturday at Garcelon Field. We’ll also recap the first week of games for Bates softball and the Bates baseball team returns to action this Saturday at Endicott. All that and more, next time, on the Bates Bobcast!