Bates Bobcast Episode 140: A state championship, a trip to China, and more!

This week we're celebrating the men's track and field team taking back the Maine State Outdoor Championship from Bowdoin. Plus, the softball and baseball teams won NESCAC games in thrilling fashion and the men's club ice hockey team just returned from China. All that and more, on the Bates Bobcast!

Interviews this episode:

  • 1:17 -- Jon Martin, Head Coach, Baseball.
  • 3:55 -- Nolan Collins '20, Baseball (NESCAC Pitcher of the Week).
  • 8:47 -- McKell Barnes, Head Coach, Softball.
  • 12:25 -- Andrea Russo '19, Softball (Female Bobcat of the Week).
  • 19:05 -- Bart Rust '22, Men's track and field (Male Bobcat of the Week).
  • 26:14 -- Tyler Harrington '19, Men's track and field (NESCAC Men's Field Performer of the Week).
  • 31:40 -- Bella Stone '19, Women's tennis captain.
  • 35:04 -- Bob Xu '19, Morgan Dewdney '19 and Ned Moreland '19, Men's club ice hockey captains.

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’re celebrating the men’s track and field team...taking back the Maine State Outdoor Championship from Bowdoin. Plus, the softball and baseball teams won NESCAC games in thrilling fashion...and the men’s club ice hockey team just returned from China. All that and more, coming up, on the Bates Bobcast!

Aaron: After starting 0-4, the Bates baseball team is over the .500 mark for the first time this season after the Bobcats defeated Thomas College 16-3 on Monday to improve their record to 13-12. Of course, the biggest win over the past week came on Friday, when the Bobcats defeated Bowdoin 3-2, improving to 4-3 in NESCAC East Division play. Junior captain Jack Arend smacked a two-RBI single in the seventh inning to give Bates the lead for good and junior Nolan Collins tossed a complete game five-hitter to earn his fifth win of the season. After the win, we caught up with head coach Jon Martin.

Jon: Nolan's our guy. I mean, he's a bulldog. He wants the ball. He wants to compete. He loves the light on him. He loves the action. Nolan is a true competitor and I think his just competitive juices took over today. Trusted his stuff. His fastball had a little life on it, which is usual for him. And you know what? He did what he wanted to do with the slider for the most part. He would back it up on a righty if he wanted. He'd bury it on a righty if he wanted. Back foot lefties a couple times. I mean he had both of those pitches that he felt like he could throw at any count, any hitter and that's what got him through it. He did a great job.

Aaron: Bowdoin got a couple runs in the first inning after that it was lights out. Did he make any adjustments did you notice or was that just a matter of finding a little bit less of the plate?

Jon: I think he was just maybe kind of over throwing a little bit early because he felt good. And just kind of left pitches in the zone. You know to string four hits together with two outs is really hard to do and I think there's some luck involved in that too and I think he just left a couple pitches over that got in there. That's all it was.

Aaron: And then what an at bat by Justin White right before Arend's base hit there in the seventh right? Drawing that walk, I mean, this guy just grinds out at bats. You have him in the lead off spot for a reason, I guess right?

Jon: Yeah we did. You amongst other people questioned that, but we have to trust that we have an idea of what we're doing.

Aaron: Yeah.

Jon: But he, he just battles man. He just battles. And he's not scared to hit with two outs. He's not scared to hit with two strikes. Whitey knows how to hit. And I have confidence in him when he gets up to the plate, that he can get a job done. And he did it today.

Aaron: And then Arend, known for his patience draws a lot of walks, jumping that first pitch to rip the single there right?

Jon: Jack's been locked in all season.

Aaron: Yeah.

Jon: You know it seems like if he's not drawing a walk, he's finding a way to get on base somehow, someway. So obviously, we wanted those couple of guys up, those two guys up in spots, you know. But he did an awesome job behind the dish also today.

Aaron: For them, Lopez retired the first nine batters he faced and you guys seemed to figure it out right?

Jon: Yeah, five strikeouts too. Yeah, he's a good pitcher. He's fast baller, slider guy and he was down. He was low on strikes. He kinda has a quick pitch. He'll hesitate a little bit and kinda throw you off and you know we were just able to get into him in a couple big spots that we needed to. So it was good. It was a nice job. 

Aaron: On Monday, the NESCAC honored Collins by naming him the NESCAC Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season. Collins matched his career-high with eight strikeouts against the Polar Bears and he has been the winning pitcher in two of Bates’ four NESCAC east wins this season. We chatted with Collins in the dugout after Bates’ win Monday over Thomas.

Nolan: We started off just all fastballs pretty much and they just started swinging first pitch and getting some hits. But once I started mixing my curve ball and slider in, it was pretty automatic. It was fun. It was great. Everyone played well and it just all came together.

Aaron: One run game obviously, you know ninth inning you're back out there trying to get that complete game we've talked about before, first guy reaches base.

Nolan: I know.

Aaron: What's going through your mind?

Nolan: I was like here we go again. But no. I just knew that if I kept making pitches, I'd be able to do alright. But I mean, it really just comes down to being able to throw strikes in those situations and having the mental ability to do it too. It's good.

Aaron: Jack Arend is over there making some noises trying to distract us.

Nolan: I know.

Aaron: We've had Jack on the show. Of course, you work with him, your roommate. What's it like having him behind the plate?

Nolan: Oh, it's great. You know he works hard. He limits passed balls. He throws guys out. He's a really good all-around catcher. And we have a really good relationship. We kinda just know which, like our sequencing. If he didn't even put down signs, I would be throwing what he wants me to throw. So it's just really good chemistry, good relationship and it really pays off on weekends.

Aaron: We've talked about how, you know, trying to make that NESCAC tournament. Obviously, Tufts and Trinity both off to really good starts, doubleheader against Bowdoin on Saturday moved to May. That means you probably get to face them again right? I'd imagine.

Nolan: Yeah. Yeah. I haven't had a conversation with coach about it but I think that's the plan. So that'd be a good, just get another NESCAC start. And then just better stats for it.

Aaron: When you face a team for a second time, what as a pitcher, you know they've seen you before. Do you have to make some adjustments or do you just trust what you normally do?

Nolan: Personally, I feel more comfortable pitching to a team that I've seen before. Just cause, and I know that hitters would probably say that about a pitcher they've seen before too but it's just cause you know like weaknesses, holes in their swings, just kinda anything that leaves them vulnerable. And Jack and I, we pay attention to that kinda stuff. And so do the coaches. I'm not too worried about them like catching on to what I'm doing. I think if I just pitch my game, we'll be able to get out of it.

Aaron: And we're talking right after this Monday game, a convincing win for the Bobcats over Thomas College. You got to sit back and watch and it was great to see a lot of guys get in there.

Nolan: Oh yeah. Yeah, it was good. Everyone got some time. We got the bats going a little bit so it was nice. It's good, it's a good start to the week honestly. Just having guys go out there midweek and dominate, it's always a good sign.

Aaron: And then Foley, who got the start, he was rolling there for a bit too. What did you see from him?

Nolan: A lot of strikes were coming out of his hand nice. He's been pitching really well for us this year and it's important that we have that on weekends. So nice tune up for him and he looked good.

Aaron: It seems like the starters for the Bobcats, especially the weekend starters in NESCAC play, like yourself and Foley and what not, you guys really do pound the strike zone, not too many walks out there right?

Nolan: That's our goal. That's Coach Martin's thing is throw strikes good thing will happen. Keep it at the knees. That's what he says so. And it works so that's what we're going after.

Aaron: You know you guys have a midweek game coming up here Wednesday against Southern Maine. They're one of the top ranked teams in the country. This is not like your typical midweek game I suppose.

Nolan: No it's not.

Aaron: What are you looking forward to?

Nolan: Yeah, it'll be good to see. It'll be to see how we compete against them. They're a really good ball club. They can swing it. They have good arms. But hopefully, I think, we'll be able to hang with them. They shouldn't be. I mean any team can play with anyone on any day and I think we're good enough to hang with them and give them a run.

Aaron: And that's probably a good thing for the hitters is to see some really high quality pitching before some more NESCAC games here this weekend right?

Nolan: Yeah, definitely. It's always good to see good competition, especially right before a big conference series. I'm excited for it. I mean I think I'm interested to see how we do. It should be good.

Aaron: Any other thoughts on your first career nine inning complete game here at Bates?

Nolan: It was fun. Just going out there and doing it all yourself, it's alright. But obviously the fielding behind us is good so it's good just going out there and being able to throw strikes and get through a game against a team like that. It's just a lot of fun. It's the main thing. I love it.

Aaron: Nolan Collins, he is once again the NESCAC pitcher of the week. Thanks so much.

Nolan: Thank you, Aaron. 

Aaron: After a rough start to the season, the Bates softball team has won 8 of its last 11 games and they are 4-4 in NESCAC East play. This past week saw the Bobcats sweep the University of Southern Maine in a Wednesday doubleheader. Then Bates defeated UMaine-Farmington 4-1 on Thursday before splitting a NESCAC East Division doubleheader with Trinity on Friday. After dropping game one 4-2, Bates bounced back in style, winning 3-2 in game two on a walk-off single from senior Andrea Russo. Leading 1-0 heading into the seventh inning, the Bobcats surrendered a pair of runs, falling behind 2-1 with just three outs remaining. But a Mary Collette RBI single tied the game before Russo won it with her single up the middle. Head Coach McKell Barnes was thrilled.

McKell: Holy, moly. I could not be more proud of them. You know the first game was a little tough of a game and in between games we challenged them to come back and just be better. Be yourself. Because they are so great. So just be yourself. And they did and I couldn't be more proud of them. I mean got a little testy there in the seventh inning, right? Top of the seventh and we give up you know the one run lead against a good team and it would be so easy for them to crumble and they didn't. And I just am so proud of them.

Aaron: What was the message in between innings or was there any message perhaps? Between the top and bottom half.

McKell: You know it was simply just don't stop.

Aaron: Yeah.

McKell: Don't stop. I mean everything you've done to this point, in this game, has been great. And don't stop. And believe and will yourself right here. And they did.

Aaron: For sure. Last year I know you had a couple close ones with Trinity. Today, obviously the first game fell behind four nothing but then rallied a little bit. Cut the lead to four to two at least. What was the difference between the first inning in the first game and the rest of the entire doubleheader I guess?

McKell: I mean you could just feel a difference. And I don't know if I can put my thumb on anything in particular but you could just feel a difference. I think the energy, the belief, the support, the comradery amongst each other, it just felt different from the very beginning and that was what we challenged them in between games to do. And they brought it. You know we left a lot of runners on base in that first game and you know KP had one tough inning in that first inning there and then she locked in after that. But this is such a game of emotion. And to be able to control your emotions and to be able to will yourself into the emotions that, that really ignites that passion and that fervor to win was really something special to see.

Aaron: Speaking of Kirsten Pelletier, KP, she's throwing both halves of the double header. She hasn't done that previous years typically, right? So this is kind of a new for her, but clearly she's doing pretty well with it right?

McKell: Yeah. Yeah. Gosh I mean she just digs deep and whatever gas she has in the tank, she gives it her all. And that's, we know that that's coming every pitch, every game, doubleheaders, you know. That's what we expected of her and that's what she expects of herself and we need that from her.

Aaron: How about that double play in game two? Bass coming in from center field to cover second?

McKell: Yes.

Aaron: That was something.

McKell: Yes. You know we knew that that was definitely a high percentage bunt play and so moving our outfielders in too, you know with our corners charging, and a couple runners on base, you know we knew it was important that we have all of our bases covered. Caroline's speed you can't teach and that's a game-changing play right there. Julia to make the play and then to think secondary to then get that second out is also fantastic. I mean start to finish on that play. KP has to hit the pitch too, you know.

Aaron: Yeah.

McKell: You know, that's where it's actually got to start. She's got to hit the pitch to be able to have them pop it up and she did. And so you know, start to finish on that play absolutely fantastic. I mean one of the best plays I've seen since I've been here.

Aaron: And the walk off hit, Connecticut native beating the team from Connecticut that's pretty nice right?

McKell: And you know what? I know that felt so good for her.

Aaron: Yeah.

McKell: And she's worked so hard as we've always said and for her to be the only senior to come up in that situation.

Aaron: Yeah.

McKell: I just had a feeling. I just knew it was gonna happen. And I think everyone else did too and that's really special.

Aaron: Alright, Coach Barnes thank you so much.

McKell: Thanks, Aaron.

Aaron: Russo is hitting .371 with a .450 On-Base Percentage, tops on the team. She went 7-15 at the plate last week with four runs scored and three RBIs. And Andrea Russo is our Female Bobcat of the Week!

Aaron: Andrea we talked right after the game, after your game winning hit against Trinity. Since that has happened, and a few days have passed by, what are your thoughts on it? You know, now looking back on that doubleheader and what the team was able to accomplish, you know, in the first game falling behind, making it close there at the end, and then second game prevailing.

Andrea: The more I look back at the Trinity series, the more and more I wish we did take that first one as well.

Aaron: Sure.

Andrea: It was a close game and what ended up happening was that a team like, there were just a lot of hits that didn't really come together like they did in the second game. And that's something that yeah, sometimes it falls your way and the games goes how it does and in your favor. But it's just looking back, all the pieces were there for that first game. And how the just did end up coming together for the second one is awesome. And hopefully that momentum carries us through this huge NESCAC weekend we have coming up.

Aaron: Sure. And then obviously you had the game-winning hit in game two, but that wouldn't happen without your teammates being on base beforehand including a couple of first-years there. With Pagan and Sato and it's great to see them really contributing huh?

Andrea: Yeah. That's like an example of like how everything just kind of came together in that moment.

Aaron: Yeah.

Andrea: And I loved seeing everyone on the team contribute to our wins and especially the freshmen too. And for them to be getting that pressure situation experience is awesome and can only benefit the team and their future and their futures' as Bates Bobcats.

Aaron: Sure. I know sophomore Mary Collette looking at the stats, she's over 300 batting average. She's really contributing as well, isn't she?

Andrea: Yeah, she's really improved and she does work extremely hard. And this year I've seen her switch from thinking about okay like I'm a catcher this is what I do. And her moving into more of the utility playing first base. She's athletic and she's doing an awesome job at first and for her to also see like well like now like, she's focusing on hitting even more too. And like the amount of work she's putting into hitting is really contributing and paying off.

Aaron: And then you personally kinda have a new role in terms of you're more middle of the lineup now. How's that been going?

Andrea: Yeah. The coaches have been saying that where I am in the lineup I'm the second lead off and I've really taken to that. And I've enjoyed that position a lot because it, I don't know, like I've never really been in that one before. I think a lot of the times it's been either one or two and or even at the bottom of the lineup, but now at the middle it's more fun. I feel like I have more freedom to choose what I want to do.

Andrea: It's not like okay, I'm batting two. If the person in front of me gets on I'm gonna have to bunt. Now I'm coming in and I get to see okay, well like, now I'm looking around and I'm like okay, maybe now would be a good time for a bounce slap. I see like the middle infielders are playing kinda back. Like yada, yada. And like I don't know I just feel like I have more freedom. And more, I feel like I'm able to have more fun in that position cause it's not as much of a pressure situation as it was before. Of like, okay, like I need to do x, y, and z no matter what, I get to come in and be like, okay well like okay coach says to get the bunt down. I guess like that's what I'm doing now whereas in like another situation, it's like okay I'm going to have to try to get one, like get a hit to go through the infield or poke one through. Yeah, no. It's just been a lot more fun and then also a little bit more RBI opportunities.

Aaron: So this weekend obviously massive weekend. You've got three with Bowdoin, you've got one more then with Trinity because one of the games got moved there this Sunday.

Andrea: Yeah.

Aaron: So four NESCAC games in three days including your senior day. What are your thoughts on this upcoming weekend?

Andrea: I'm excited. I hope the rain holds off but yeah, no I'm really excited cause it's just getting through. Well first off, excited to play those Bowdoin games cause I think it was Trinity that beat Bowdoin. So that will be fun to see what happens. And then also those games are usually where everyone's like high intensity, high energy and it's just the classic rivalry that comes into play. And also it's just knowing that these are extremely important games when it comes to standings. That makes me excited to see how everyone rises up to the challenge and see how we all come together and play together this weekend make me really excited to think about.

Aaron: Certainly. And Kirsten Pelletier interviewed her a couple weeks back, she said "Bowdoin's going down this year."

Andrea: Oh yeah.

Aaron: So thoughts on your end?

Andrea: Yeah. I agree. I would love to take a series. Take the series. Yeah, no it would be great. But that's the thing too though, it's one thing at a time.

Aaron: Yeah.

Andrea: Take one game, take the first game. That single game and then the next stage is thinking about getting the first one of the doubleheader and then saying okay well we did that job. And then might as get the third.

Aaron: Yeah. For sure.

Andrea: So that's ideally how it would go. And then after that, have to take that one from Trin. But other than that, I think we can definitely do it, we've done it last year. And they've graduated so many seniors. So it's, I'm interested to see what kind of Bowdoin team we're playing this year.

Aaron: Should be exciting. Dre Russo, our Female Bobcat of the the Week. Thanks so much.

Andrea: Thank you.

Aaron: The track and field teams stayed in-state this weekend, with the women hosting the Aloha Relays and the men making the 45-minute trip to Brunswick for the 120th Maine State MEN’S Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The women placed second out of eight teams, winning seven events along the way. Meanwhile, the men knew they were in for a tough challenge. Bowdoin had won the previous two outdoor state championships, but this time, the Bobcats prevailed, by four points. Sophomore John Rex took home the Frederick Tootel Memorial Most Valuable Field Athlete Award for winning the hammer, the discus, and the shot put. But the event that swung the meet on Saturday was the second-to-last race of the afternoon, the 5K. With four Bowdoin seniors in the mix, including a cross country All-American, first-year Bart Rust emerged victorious in a time of 15:10.19, picking up a crucial 10 points for Bates. Rust also took second place earlier in the day in the 3,000-meter steeplechase to teammate Nico Johnson. And Bart Rust is our Male Bobcat of the Week!

Aaron: So when you did that 5K, going into it did you know kinda where the team was within the points and stuff like that?

Bart: I had a general idea. I knew it was close and I knew Bowdoin had a lot of guys that can definitely score points. All those guys are very good runners. I knew our team as well, we had very good opportunities to come away with points and just kind of secure our position. I knew we were up but I didn't know how much exactly and I didn't know we, I think we were up at least. I don't know. Going into it, I thought we were up.

Aaron: Yeah.

Bart: But I had just, I was just do whatever I can. See what I have left in that last lap and hopefully it works out. And it worked out alright. But, yeah, going into it all the Bowdoin guys who weren't running were like "This is it, guys. This is the meet. This is where you will win it." And I was like alright well no, now I've got to step up and ruin some peoples' day. But you know, we'll have fun doing it.

Aaron: With a steeplechase, that involves water right? So how did that race go? Obviously you got second to your teammate there, Nico Johnson.

Bart: So we both Nico and I knew we had to double back later so we kinda went in with a plan. He was, we were, earlier this season I set myself up with a pretty good time for the NESCAC qualifying and stuff just to make sure I was in a fast heat going into, which will be this coming weekend. So Nico was going for that same kind of goal, try to get a quicker time, try to make sure he's safe, in that quick heat for NESCACs. Cause we knew going in the competition at steeple wasn't crazy tough. Like we kinda knew it was going to be the two of us, working together and kind of taking home those 18 points. So it didn't really, for me it didn't really matter like how we got those points as long as we get those points, we're doing our job. So yeah, we kinda went out, I tried to pace him through 1000 meters, let him go for his time. And then from there I was kinda conserving, make sure I was ready for that 5K which I knew it was gonna be a battle.

Aaron: So how did you spend your time between the two races? What were you doing?

Bart: A lot of jogging around. Trying to stay warm. Cause when I woke up on Saturday morning, it was really warm on campus and then we drove the 40 minutes to Bowdoin and I was like oh man, it's colder than I thought. And I hadn't brought quite enough warm clothing but you know, sitting in the stands watching the track events and stuff, cheering on some teammates, I took a couple, took my turn taking a couple of splits for other races with the stopwatch. Mainly just trying to do everything I can to make sure I was ready for the 5K coming up and make sure I was involved in getting the team ready for everything they had coming up.

Aaron: So for you personally, from your approach, you didn't really want to have that lead until the final lap, is that fair to say?

Bart: I was okay with Bates being in the front and us taking turns on the front. I know Jeremy took the first 1000, Justin did an awesome job kinda pulling the middle all the way through to about, I don't know, probably a mile to go, and then I took a turn at the front for a bit before and I was totally prepared to lead that last mile if that's what it came down to. One of the Bowdoin guys, Sean MacDonald, made a strong move at 700 meters and I knew this is his move, I just need to stick onto him. Then just hang in there and hope. Hope I can make it another lap and then give it everything I have left. So he passed me with 700, I sat in until about 300 to go and then swung wide and probably passed him with 200 or 250 or 200 to go. And I don't really know how close he was, he ended up finishing two seconds back. But I, it was loud on that final stretch right. I had no idea how close he was. So I was, you know, I wasn't gonna save anything.

Aaron: Yeah.

Bart: Just kinda left it all there.

Aaron: Is the final 200 meters kind of a blur? Sort of?

Bart: Kind of. I remember hearing one of the Bowdoin assistant coaches, screaming "come on Sean, gotta stick with him. You got him, you got him." And I was like I hope he doesn't have me. But I'm gonna, if he does I'm gonna make it hurt. I'm gonna make him actually get me. I'm not gonna let him get me. Yeah, cause he's a very good racer, very good runner. He was All-American in cross country. I think all the Bowdoin people kind of expected him to have me. But, you know, just not going to save anything that close, I mean, I think, I mean, he was in front of me with 400 to go and I closed in 62 seconds for that last lap. So he closed in 64, which is usually good enough to, which is very good kick, and usually enough to close it out if you've got the lead. But I wasn't gonna let him, wasn't just gonna let him have it.

Aaron: Right. Exactly. This race is interesting cause it's obviously technically an individual event, but it sounds like it's a real team effort out there.

Bart: Yeah, for sure. And it's not just the guys racing in terms of that team effort. I mean obviously having guys with you, there's just kinda, we work out together like everyday. We run together everyday. So just knowing how they race, how they run. And how you run with them, it's relaxing and makes it a lot easier to kind of just sit in, stay relaxed because the 5K's a pain fest and just filled with like a lot of adrenaline, but at the same time you need to realize, okay I'm on this track for three point one miles, I should probably take a couple breaths, calm down a little bit, just wait and the race will come to us.

Bart: It was really great having all those guys, like having the guys on the track but I remember just going around and just seeing every single one of my teammates standing on the like standing on the infield and see them on the back stretch. I'd come around and I'd hear them on the home stretch and every time would I kept like accidentally making eye contact with people. I wasn't really trying to. I'd just look like glance over and like I'd just lock eyes with them, my teammates and couple times I couldn't help smiling cause I was like this is a ton of fun. This is the energy that's just so fun to race in. I mean that was great just having every one there, it was loud too. So you didn't have to, you weren't listening too much to like what's going on right with you. So it was again, another distraction from kinda what you're, even when you're at a time not necessarily trying to be distracted. Any little bit helps.

Aaron: Sounds good. Bart Rush, Male Bobcat of the Week. Thanks so much.

Bart: Thank you very much for having me.  

Aaron: On Monday, the NESCAC rewarded the Bobcats’ incredible depth in the throws by naming senior Tyler Harrington the Men’s Field Performer of the Week. Harrington scored a combined 26 team points over four events, winning the javelin throw, placing second to teammate John Rex in the shot put, finishing third in the hammer and fifth in the discus.

Aaron: NESCAC Field Performer of the Week Tyler Harrington with us here on the Bobcast and Tyler a PR for you in the shot put, got second to your teammate Johnny Rex in that event at the Maine State Meet, a bunch of other great performances as well, but tell us about the shot put and what was really clicking for you?

Tyler: Yeah I mean last few weeks I've been hitting that throw pretty well in practice so I just kinda put together in a meet and it was, it finally came together. It was my last throw, I was kinda frustrated earlier in the meet with it and when I finally hit it I was pretty excited. It was great to move up from fifth to second on that throw so it was a big throw for us and it was great.

Aaron: Right. Even with one throw, one throw can swing a meet. It was what a four point difference between the teams?

Tyler: Yeah. Absolutely. It was a really close meet and everyone did a great job all over the track and all the throws and the jumps and everything like that. But I think all performances, everybody did their job and we got it done. I mean, four points is a really slim margin in a track meet.

Aaron: It's interesting. I feel like in your career and you can correct me if I'm wrong, you have the most immediate success in probably the javelin and you've kind of grown in the other throwing events. How has that process gone for you through four years?

Tyler: Yeah, I think early on in my career, you know freshman, sophomore year I was more of a javelin focused guy and I think that's how I wanted to be but I think as junior and senior year and have gotten older here I've really started to focus on the other events really started to really look at those events as something I can improve on and something I can score in important meets. It's really nice to score in all those events at the state meet especially. And it's really nice to start moving up in those as well.

Aaron: The mechanics of these events are totally like completely different. I mean the javelin is nothing like the other throws right?

Tyler: Yeah. I mean javelin is really different and the hammer is extremely different than the shot and discus. I mean the shot and discus have the same motion of the spin but the different events, it's really interesting trying to work on all those different events. It's kinda cool going through all those like different technical routes.

Aaron: And then you know winning the state title in the javelin, that's obviously a special thing. Wasn't necessarily a PR but winning the state title is all about the points at this point right?

Tyler: Yeah I mean winning the state title is definitely something that I strive for every year in the javelin and it's definitely awesome to win it again this year. I mean it wasn't PR but it was a good throw. My best throw of this year so far. So I mean, I'll take that. Something to build on for the coming meets.

Aaron: Sure. NESCAC Championships coming up. What events? All four again?

Tyler: Yeah. I'm gonna be doing the jave, discus and hammer. Jave and shot put they conflict time periods. So it would be easier to jut do jave and discus and hammer so that will be a fun meet.

Aaron: I guess that shows how different the events are they overlap.

Tyler: Yeah, exactly. I mean they probably they use different parts of the track too. And it's probably just be yeah. It would be tough.

Aaron: How about your teammate? I mean Johnny Rex winning the MVP there at states taking home the top spot in the discus, the shot put and the hammer throw. He must be inspiring to see as a sophomore.

Tyler: Yeah. It's great. Johnny's awesome. He worked super hard all through last year all through the summer and then this year he's been just really improving. It's just great to see him you know. Seeing him go big in all the events gives us all motivation as the rest of the team, you know we can follow up with that and give good performances as well.

Aaron: I feel for outdoor, there's a little more variety for you guys. A little bit more, do you prefer it over indoor just because there's a little bit more opportunity for events to participate in?

Tyler: Yeah. Outdoor is I get four events to participate in and indoor is only two. It's nice to get a couple more events. Indoor if you have one bad event you only have one more to go. And outdoor I have one bad event I have three more to maybe improve on or do well on. It's nice having all four. All four are pretty different so it's really fun to see what I can do on all of them.

Aaron: For you, this must be a nice bookend cause your first year here, Bates won the outdoor title. Next two Bowdoin took it back and it must be nice as a senior to wrestle that outdoor title away huh?

Tyler: Yeah it's nice. As a team we it was one of our big goals for this whole season was to win the outdoor state title. And we had done indoor this season and we wanted to keep the trophy here and win outdoors. And take it away from a really good Bowdoin team was really nice. And everybody contributed. Everybody did a really good job and I'm just really happy that we brought it back.

Aaron: You were doing so many events, did you get a chance to watch anyone else?

Tyler: Yeah. One race I watched was Bart Russ' 5K, I know he won Bobcat of the Week this week. And he, that race was amazing. He held off like a bunch of senior Bowdoin runners who are like a few of them are All-Americans. Watching him compete there, taking home first in that race was amazing. It was really exciting to watch him.

Aaron: And that was like the second to last event right?

Tyler: Yeah it was. I think it was really close then too. We needed that race and Bart did a really good job.

Aaron: Lots of performances up and down, lots of honors being earned by the Bobcats this week. Tyler Harrington, thank you so much for joining us. NESCAC Field Performer of the Week.

Tyler: Thank you.

Aaron: The men’s tennis team is 3-2 in NESCAC play after a week that saw the Bobcats win 7-2 at Trinity before falling to national powerhouses Amherst and Middlebury. The Bobcats host rival Bowdoin Tuesday at 4pm and they wrap up the regular season at Tufts on Wednesday and at Williams on Sunday.

Aaron: Meanwhile, the women’s tennis team is 3-3 in NESCAC play after a 2-2 week that saw the Bobcats win a 5-4 thriller at Trinity and defeat rival Colby on Monday by a count of 8-1. Monday marked senior captain Bella Stone’s final home match, and she made the most of it. Stone and first-year Anna Rozin combined to win 8-2 at No. 1 doubles and Stone rolled to a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 2 singles. We caught up with Stone right after her singles victory.

Aaron: Well Bella this being your final home match, obviously Bobcats have clinched it here with five points already, but what are your thoughts on the matches today starting outdoors for doubles and moving indoors here to singles.

Bella: Yeah. I think as a team we have a really great start. High energy, looking really strong in doubles. So coming out with the lead two one in the singles is always a good thing but I think moving inside can sometimes be tough but I think we really handled it well. And all of us came out really strong in singles and it was just really fun to be outdoors with everyone.

Aaron: I know as a senior you've battled a lot of injuries throughout your career so how, it seems like you've been pretty healthy this season, what's it been like being able to play every match pretty much?

Bella: Yeah, no it's been awesome. It was definitely tough last season but this year I've been able to recover more and it's been fun to be able to compete with my team and be out there with everyone. It's just a great way to end my career and my, especially my last home match having the win. It's been great, especially with this group of girls. They're a great group of girls and we really compete well together.

Aaron: I was gonna say, you're the captain of this team so what's that experience been like?

Bella: Yeah, no. It's been awesome. I'm so lucky cause the team has been amazing, and it's just a special group of girls that doesn't, not everyone gets this experience. So it's been really, it's been a privilege to lead them. And to be able to be their captain.

Aaron: Watching your match, we were commenting at how powerful your serve was today. What was that working for you out there?

Bella: Yeah, no, my serve is feeling good today. My serve is probably one of my favorite shots so I was glad it was working out today. Yeah, it felt good.

Aaron: And then for doubles, you've been working with a couple different people this year, but who have you been working with recently?

Bella: Yeah, so now I'm with Anna. She's a freshman and it's really fun to play with her. And even though she's a freshman, you wouldn't even know it cause she's super calm, cool, collected and just great to play with.

Aaron: Well you were someone when you were a first-year, you came and played right away, near the top of the lineup and so you can probably relate to what she's going through a little bit right?

Bella: Yeah, totally. It's definitely hard but she makes it look so easy and she's been really good this season and been a really strong member of our team.

Aaron: So this being your last home match, what's going through your mind right now? You're all wrapped up, you just won your singles.

Bella: I know. It's crazy. It's definitely a little nostalgic, a little sad. I've spent a lot time in Merrill but it's the four years have gone by so fast and it is gonna be sad leaving but my experience overall has been amazing. I'm just happy with the way my tennis career has gone here.

Aaron: And you've still got some more matches coming up right?

Bella: Yeah, we've got two more which is exciting. So usually our last home match is the last match of the season but we've still got Bowdoin and Williams. So I'm super excited for those. I think we can do some damage and really come out strong against them.

Aaron: Well Bowdoin another rival, I mean Colby a rival, obviously, what do those matches like maybe compared to the others?

Bella: Oh, they're so fun because, they're super fun because there's the extra kind of level of you know, we need to beat the other Maine schools. Colby's definitely always a fight and this year I'm really proud of the way the team fought today because the matches were close and it could have gone either way. Everyone stepped up. 

Aaron: The Bates men’s club ice hockey team just got back from a trip to China over Spring Break. Their three captains fill us in on their experience competing halfway around the world.

Aaron: Bob Xu, Morgan Dewdney and Ned Moreland with us here on the Bobcast talking about the club ice hockey team's trip to China. Bob, you were the mastermind behind this. You were the organizer. How did this come to be?

Bob: I think everything started from last year. From the Bobcat Ventures. So I came up with this idea, to bring the Bates men's hockey club to China to play a friendly match with a university in China. But after the venture program, I spent some time in Beijing during the summer with the Winter Olympic committee and their summer advisor gave me advice to create a international college tournament. So I started to connect with some teams from Korea, Japan, Finland and Kazakhstan and Russia and Belarus and so I think everything came together this year in January and we got a eight teams including our Bates men's hockey team to form this international tournament. So also we got sponsors and just everything together and then we started to do our VISAS and everything just come together and we went to this tournament on April 13th after our finals.

Aaron: Awesome. So all three of you played hockey growing up and everything, you grew up in Beijing, how did you first get into the sport?

Bob: So I actually start off skating in a shopping mall in downtown Beijing. I think it's a very Asian thing that ice rinks are built in shopping malls and then I joined a youth club and then started to play hockey. I've been to some tournament in Canada, it's called Bell Cup and I've spent some summer in summer camps in Baltimore and after elementary school there are not many club exists anymore in Beijing at that time. So I joined a private club that we competing in some not really professional league in China but like after that I was selected to the U18 team in China and we played in the Estonia-Italian IHF games and I think after that I applied to Bates and afterwards I was playing Bates club team with these guys.

Aaron: I'm curious how you arrived at Bates, how you decided you wanted to come to Bates for college?

Bob: Two reasons. One is that my counselor gave me the idea of Bates and liberal arts college. And the second reason is that I came to Bates for a campus tour and I really liked the environment and the students and the culture here. So that's why I chose Bates.

Aaron: Alright, let's bring in Morgan here. You are obviously on the varsity soccer team. And you also got an opportunity to play club ice hockey during your time here at Bates, this experience in China, this must be top of the list of some of the most great experiences you've so far in school right?

Morgan: Yeah, definitely. I think playing soccer and playing club hockey, playing both of those that's one of the reasons why I like Bates so much is because it gives me the opportunity to compete at the varsity level playing soccer and then also switch it up a little bit halfway through the year and then play club hockey. So I'm just really fortunate, it's so nice because obviously I have all my soccer friends and then coaches there and then obviously have this whole kinda new realm of all like the hockey players so I'm really fortunate to have that. But yeah, this trip to China's been absolutely crazy. And I had no idea that it was actually going to happen. And so it's been, I mean it was unbelievable experience. And just never thought it was going to happen.

Aaron: And Ned, I understand that you didn't really, it didn't really hit you that you're going to China until about two weeks out right?

Ned: Yeah, so one moment I'll never forget is we're all sitting in the locker room before practice and Bob comes in with a stack of VISAs and everyone takes one look at their passports and they are wide eyed. And so after that moment and when that moment hit, I said alright boys, we're going.

Aaron: Bob, what did you tell these guys what to expect, I mean, having grown up there and everything?

Bob: So I have been telling them stories in China and Beijing and also my stories playing hockey in China and I think one of the reasons I want to bring all of those guys, my teammates, to China is to actually let them to know more about China and also where I grow up playing hockey. So that's what I really expected. And I think everything came together this time and they really get a sense of what it is in China and what is the hockey development in there.

Aaron: And Morgan, I understand the team did get a chance to you know do some sightseeing if you will, what were some memorable places you were able to go to?

Morgan: Yeah, I think my favorite place was probably the Great Wall. I've never been to China or Asia before and seeing the Great Wall is just unbelievable. We got to walk, I have no idea how long we walked. We walked a pretty fair amount. And we could just see towards everything around the Great Wall and it was great. It was really cool because it was foggy and misty too, so we sort of got the whole ambiance. It was great. So I think the Great Wall was probably my favorite place. As well as just, I'm not sure the name, maybe is it like the silk? What's the other one? Was that the one with like the shops?

Ned: So we did visit a marketplace which I think is what Morgan's referring to and that was

Bob: Silk Street.

Ned: Silk Street. And I think that that was awesome because you also got to see the more pop up shops and shops that have been around for hundreds of years. And if you think and contextualize it those are some of those shops are 500 years old while America is only been around since 1776 so seeing these shops that have multi generational families were pretty incredible.

Aaron: How about the level of competition you guys faced? Pretty intense right?

Ned: Yeah, so one thing to recognize is that the university hockey system and different, operating differently in different countries right? So we have a team such as the Finnish team where it was a conglomeration of six different universities. Or you have something like Bates College which is a conglomeration of just one college. And so what we really found was that we were competitive for stretches of these games but other teams were just very, very talented. Guys who had been playing together for awhile, they were older in some cases. In one case, we played one team where our seniors on our team would have been the youngest players on other team. So there was a lot of different factors to consider.

Aaron: Awesome and Morgan, I'm curious to know you mentioned that you guys were just Bates, were there any other United States teams there or was it just the Bobcats?

Morgan: No so it was just us representing the United States. And that was something that we were all taken aback when we got there. You know we saw next to Bates College it says Team USA.

Aaron: Like Mighty Ducks.

Morgan: Exactly. And so we always referred to it as Miracle on Ice, or the Mighty Ducks. And it was sort of all the build up. We'd talked about it a lot and when we actually got there that's pretty much what it was. And I actually had a friend who is studying abroad in Beijing and he was able to come to one of the games and he's fluent in Mandarin so he was telling me that the announcers and all the chants were saying Team USA and they kept referring to us as that. So a pretty surreal experience and just really cool to have that honor.

Aaron: Bob, from a logistical stand point, did it all go off without a hitch pretty much?

Bob: There were a lot of work being done between me and the organizer. We'd been communicating a lot and I think we did a pretty good job to put out this tournament together for the first time ever. This tournament is, I think it's the first ever international college tournament in China. So it means a lot to China and also China hockey. And I think they are going to make it the next year, so I really hope that we can go, go on this further with Bates hockey and also this tournament.

Aaron: You all seniors?

Ned: We're all seniors.

Aaron: Okay. So

Bob: We hope to give some legacy in this program and also for the Bates hockey team be in this tournament for the future.

Aaron: Do you have post college plans in your mind right now?

Bob: I'll probably go to grad school. But not sure yet. But I'll definitely help out with this tournament and make it more legit in the future. And just in general.

Aaron: Morgan, are you excited to see where this things goes?

Morgan: Yeah. I'm really excited. I think Bob has talked about the possibility of having Bates back at the tournament. And I think that would be a really great opportunity for the program, but I think it's also really great for China as a whole. I think that we aren't professionals but I think it's still exposing China and the Chinese people to hockey. And maybe at a more accessible level than the professionals. So I think that this tournament, this was the first year that they did it, but I think that it's sort of really important in sort of popularizing hockey in China.

Aaron: So Ned is the season for you guys wrapped up or do you have more games on tap?

Ned: We're wrapped up officially.

Aaron: All wrapped up.

Ned: So it's tying loose ends here. But this was definite one huge way we could cap it off.

Aaron: Yeah. No kidding. Maybe besides this, which was probably the highlight of your time at Bates in terms of hockey perspective, what else has really stood out to you during your four years?

Ned: What's really stood out to me was the way that I've been able to connect with a wide range of people. And the diverse campus right. So we talk a lot about, well I work in admissions outside of hockey and we talk a lot about what does it mean to go to Bates? Well what it really means is doing and engaging in projects like this. Being able to take something from scratch and really making it something huge and something massive. But also being something meaningful right? What this tournament really represented to me was how the Bates community is really great at connecting with different cultures, politics aside right? So politics aside, we were with the Russians, we were the Chinese team. And if you looked at a political newspaper, that'd say, you'd say like oh you shouldn't be friends. But when we were on the ice that wasn't the case. I think that it was just a great opportunity to really connect with different cultures.

Aaron: And Bob do you see it the same way kind of in term of a great kind of outreach between these two countries?

Bob: Yes, definitely. So I think those two are really primary goal for this tournament. The first one is that to create a warm environment before the 2022 Winter Olympics for Beijing. And also the second reason is to bring all of these countries together, to know each other in a college level and to understand each other besides a lot of conflict in the world, trade I would say. And also to let students to become friends together and get some more connections through this tournament.

Aaron: Terrific. Well before we go, just any other thoughts you want to share on the trip? We'll start with Ned and go left to right.

Ned: Yeah, so if there was just one word I could use to describe the trip it would be amazing. Definite extremely grateful and I hope that Bates we can do it again.

Aaron: Morgan?

Morgan: Yeah, definitely. Just reiterate what Ned said. Really fortunate to be able to go on this trip and it was great from a hockey stand point as well as sort of a cultural one. And seeing kind of the sights of China. And then I also just lastly wanna think that Bob kinda down plays his whole role in this tournament. He was the initiator of it. He sort of, this was his idea and seeing it sort of all come together in China, I mean everything was so official. From getting into the country with customs to you know, transportation we never had to wait for anything. It was all sort of figured out. All of our meals were planned perfectly. Even after the tournament when we were sight seeing, all of, everything was planned to a tee. And I think that's just a testament to how much effort Bob put in to this. And I mean it was an unbelievable experience. So I think it was really worth it.

Aaron: And Bob, any other thoughts you want to share?

Bob: Yeah, so first off I really appreciate all the trust from my teammates, school and also the administration. I really thank to all the trust and also I would really thank you for Paul Marks, one of our Bates trustees, teaching us a lot through this process and being a really supportive on this whole idea. I just been really appreciative of these people and I hope that I can put this whole program further on and to give more legacies to Bates hockey team and also the students here. 

Aaron: The men’s lacrosse team fell to Amherst and Tufts last week. But the Bobcats are still in a strong position, ranked 14th in the country with an overall record of 9-4. Bates hosts Colby Wednesday at 4pm and the Bobcats will then compete in the NESCAC tournament quarterfinals on Saturday. After also falling to Tufts and Amherst, the women’s lacrosse team is ranked 23rd in the nation with an overall record of 8-6. The Bobcats are at Colby Wednesday and they too will compete in the NESCAC quarterfinals on Saturday.

Aaron: We’ll recap those match-ups, plus big weekend NESCAC East series for the baseball and softball teams, and much more, next time on the Bates Bobcast!