Beavers Spring Into Action with Their Upcoming Playday

By Sara Lamb Contributing Writer

UMF Men’s and Women’s soccer teams gear up for the opportunity to compete against other schools and work on their skills during the offseason.

   “A playday is basically the culmination of our spring season,”  said Tristan Price, a junior who plays on the Men’s team. “The result doesn’t count for anything but how you play can tell you a lot about what you need to work on in the summer.” Most collegiate soccer teams participate in a spring season where they get together once again, workout, and practice for the regular season in the Fall.

   This is the Men’s first spring season with a new head coach. “Coach Kronewetter has brought a different style of play,” said Price. “He has really emphasized being structured defensively.”

   With the help of the new coach, the team was more successful in their defensive effort this season as compared to previous ones, and they were able to better compete with the teams in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC).

   The Men’s and Women’s team each have around 12 members who are able to participate in the spring season. Others are either injured or involved in another spring sport. Both teams are looking to get stronger with team workouts made by the athletic trainers on campus, and by playing Futsal, a small scale modified version of soccer.

   Lydia Roy, a junior soccer player, said, “I think we are looking to be in a very good position.” Roy spoke about the teams regular season goals in an email interview and said, “Overall, it looks like we have pretty good chance at competing for the NAC Championship.”

   The Women’s head coach, Molly Wilkie, who has been coaching here for 10 seasons, pushes her team to be the best. “Our coach pushes us to be accountable and to do the hard work on our own time. It pushes us to be better players as well as better individuals,” Roy said.

   This year the Women’s playday will be held on Saturday, April 21 at St. Joseph’s college in Standish, where they play four 45 minute games against Husson, Saint Joe’s, UNE, and Thomas. The Men’s team will play at the University of Southern Maine in Portland on Sunday April 29.

Beavers Take the Track

Beavers Take the Track

By Sara Lamb Contributing Writer

The Men’s and Women’s Track and Field teams are ready to start their spring season after a slow and snowy start. Senior captain Shane Hathaway is excited to start his last season with the Beavers. Hathaway acknowledged the delayed start, saying it’s “Pretty tough to have a meet with 5 inches of snow still on the track, it was sad to cancel but we would have had to race in our snowshoes.”

   Hathaway has been a key contributor in the Beavers’ past success, having won the 110 meter hurdles during his freshman year. Hathaway is a three time hurdle champion in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC), which is the conference that UMF participates in with all of its athletics. Hathaway is also a two-time New England qualifier for the hurdles.

Captain Shane Hathaway finishes an intense race. (Photo by Jeff Lamb)

“I’d say hurdles is probably my favorite event, it’s something that came naturally when I first started the sport,” Hathaway said.

   Sophomore Throwing captain Jessica Brink is also eager to start the season, saying that the Women’s team “will be strong competitors” in all events, giving Castleton State and Colby-Sawyer a run for their money. Brink is a returning team member but is not as new to the sport.

   “Track [and Field] means a lot to me and has given me many opportunities that I otherwise would not have,” Brink said. “I love to throw and it feels great when you work so hard on your technique and you get a personal record. But I think what feels even better is when you get to share in that experience with you teammates.”

   Senior Sprint captain Kaitlin Virgin is a great team player and can always find the positive in situations. Virgin said in a online interview, “I think our biggest strength as a team is our ability to overcome adversity. Not having an actual track to work out on or not having a lot of space and equipment that a team of our size really needs actually benefits us in a lot of ways.”

   Hathaway believes that the Beavers “have a good shot at winning the NAC this year.” After the Beavers were defeated by Colby-Sawyer by eighty-nine points last spring, winning the NAC would be great for the team.

   Virgin said that the Women’s team “has a lot of talented athletes who work really hard, so a win would be incredible and is very possible.”

   The first meet scheduled earlier in March was canceled due to snow still covering the track. Instead, their season is scheduled to start Saturday, March 31, at Southern New Hampshire University for the Springtime Invitational.

Beavers Warm Up Before Season Starts

Beavers Warm Up Before Season Starts

By Emily Thibodeau Contributing Writer

The UMF softball team recently returned from their spring training trip in Kissimmee, Florida, and played eight games in the surrounding area. Out of the eight games, the team came out with one win.

   Kiana Thompson, UMF Senior Community Health major and minor in Coaching, said, “the

The team played eight games over the course of their trip. (Photo by Makao Thompson)

score didn’t show how well the team played.” The Beavers played other college teams that play year round. “We had plenty of chances to pull through with a win but we fell short,” Thompson said. “Throughout the week, we made huge improvements and minimal errors and that’s what we were looking for.”

   Thompson didn’t take these losses to heart, but appreciated “this experience going down and hitting the dirt before our conference play starts up was so important and beneficial.”   

   Brianna Dugan, a Community Health and Education major, has been playing softball for over 12 years and looks forward to playing for UMF. Dugan said, “I’ve been impressing myself since I haven’t played softball in two years.” Dugan plays right field and said she’s “impressed with the teams dynamic, good connection with the ball.”

   As the Beavers got away from the snow, Dugan said the weather was “always sunny but windy which made for good playing conditions.” The team was ready to be back on dirt as, as Thompson put it.

   “The sun was shining and we weren’t in snow or the gym. Wasn’t the typical warmest Florida weather we were looking for but it was perfect to get outside and play in dirt,” Dugan said. “Considering this was the first time we saw dirt [this year] I think we did decent, and it was relieving, and nice to not be in the cold and snow.”

   Their free time away from the field was spent at the shopping and relaxing. The team was able to spend a lot of time getting to know each other; Thompson said they “did a lot of team bonding which was good because of our team being so young.” The te

The Softball Team hit the beach in between practices in Florida. (Photo by Makao Thompson)

am cooked every meal together at the nine-bedroom house they stayed at.

   Team manager and Early Childhood Special Education major Alyssa Morin assisted the team with bat checks before the game and kept the playbook during the game.

   “The bats used during the games can only be certain ones on an improved list.” Morin said. “I feel good about the upcoming season.”

   The team is looking forward to the upcoming season. “We have a lot of potential and room for growth,” said Dugan. “Since there’s only five returning players and 22 total players on the team, I’m excited to see where this season goes, with all the newbies.”

   “Having Coach Kat come in last season, we made improvements that I haven’t seen in awhile, and with another year under her belt with returners, I am so excited for what our potential is going to be this year,” Thompson said. “Our conference play is going to be tough but I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people because of what we have to show. I’m looking forward spending my last season as a Beaver with this group of girls.”

   The Beavers’s first game was March 23 in Newbury, Massachusetts. You can support them at their first home game on Saturday, April 21, versus Lydon State.

Alpine Ski Teams Set Mountainous Expectations for Winter Season

Alpine Ski Teams Set Mountainous Expectations for Winter Season

By Devin Lachappelle – Contributing Writer

   Although the Farmington area has yet to see significant snowfall, members of UMF’s Alpine Ski teams are already hitting the slopes and training hard as they look to get a strong start to the season. They hope to eventually make a run for the United States Collegiate Ski & Snowboard Association (USCSA) National Championships in March.

   Jed Stevens, a Junior and a captain of the men’s team, is cautiously optimistic about this season. Stevens expects that both the men’s and women’s teams will put up strong performances despite a lack of upperclassmen racers.

Ben Higgins takes a practice run down Chicken Pitch, a steep section of trail at Sugarloaf Mountain
Credit: Ben Higgins

   “We have a very young ski team this year,” Stevens said. “Luckily for me, the majority of our team has an ample amount of experience in racing. My expectations for the team this year are high, but skiing is a tough sport, so we take on our season by going one race at a time.”

       Jess Freeborn, a sophomore and a captain of the women’s team, agreed with Stevens, and noted that she appreciated her teammates’ energy. “The women’s Alpine team is a young but vibrant team,” she said. “The team [is] extremely excited and eager to hit the snow.”

   Although her teammates have shown incredible enthusiasm about this alpine ski season, Freeborn said that she still likes to keep a careful eye on her fellow racers to make sure no one gets overwhelmed.

   “I help make sure everyone’s attending practices and in a good place emotionally and academically,” she said. “I have been called the team mom more than a few times!“

    Ben Higgins, a recent transfer student from Currie College and a new addition to the men’s Alpine Ski team, was a bit more outspoken about his goals than Stevens and Freeborn were. “We’ve had nationals on our Google Calendar all year,” Higgins said, in reference to the USCSA Championships, which are held in New York at the end of the ski season.

   While the Alpine Ski teams don’t have official home racing venues, Stevens mentioned that he and his teammates train often at Titcomb Mountain, a small ski mountain located two miles from the school’s campus.

   “UMF and its snow sports teams have an excellent relationship with Titcomb Mountain,” Stevens said. “In my own personal opinion, Titcomb has one of the best trails for slalom races in the state of Maine.”

   Stevens also noted that Titcomb is particularly accommodating to UMF students, both for those looking to watch races and those looking to ski. “[Titcomb is] only ten minutes away and provides free skiing to all UMF students, [so] if you want to come watch us compete, this is the venue to do it,” he said.

   Stevens and Higgins mentioned that although it isn’t as close to campus as is Titcomb, Sugarloaf Mountain is a fantastic place to practice, given its substantial size and the difficulty of its trails.

    “Sugarloaf provides us with an opportunity to train on a large mountain with challenging terrain, which gives us a major edge in races held on difficult slopes,” Stevens said. “Once the season gets into full swing, this is our preferred training space for giant slalom [races].”

   Higgins agreed and said, “I would consider Sugarloaf to be part of our extended community here at UMF.” With laughter in his voice, Higgins continued, “It’s not too far away; if you give it a little bit of a lead foot you can get there pretty quickly.”

   The full schedules for the men’s and women’s alpine ski teams can be found at http://athletics.umf.maine.edu/sports/malpineski/2017-18/schedule and http://athletics.umf.maine.edu/sports/walpineski/2017-18/roster, respectively.

   Any UMF student interested in getting a free season pass to Titcomb Mountain should visit http://www.titcombmountain.com/.

UMF Women take 2nd, Men 3rd at NAC Cross Country Championships

UMF Women take 2nd, Men 3rd at NAC Cross Country Championships

By Devin Lachapelle – Contributing Writer

Led by three individual top-ten performances for the women and two individual top-ten performances for the men, UMF’s women’s and men’s cross country teams earned second and third place finishes at the North Atlantic Conference Cross Country Championships, which took place in Farmington for the first time in ten years.

UMF’s top female runner was Katie LeBlanc, who placed second out of ninety-five total runners. Teammates Laura Pulito, Gwen Baker, Chloe Kenyon and Molly Jack finished fifth, eighth, twenty-third and twenty-fourth, respectively.

UMF’s best male runner of the day was Jeremiah Sands, who finished second in a field of eighty-five. Robbie Hollis finished in eighth, while David Doering, Cory McCullough, and Connor Marland rounded out the rest of UMF’s scoring positions at eighteenth, thirtieth and thirty-third.

The NAC Championships were held on the Mt. Blue High School campus in Farmington, which Hollis, a captain of the men’s team, said was to the advantage of the UMF runners.

“It’s a slow course, considering the hills, and mentally we knew we would have that edge as a team if we trained here,” he said.

Hollis, in his fourth year at UMF, said he was excited that Farmington had the chance to host such a big event. “There’s a set schedule where it’s decided where the North Atlantic Conference meet is held each year,” he said, “and it was good to see that NACs were going to be held here my senior year.”

UMFs Robbie Hollis approaches the finish line as assistant coach Moninda Morube (left) watches.
Photo Courtesy of Devin Lachapelle

Pulito, a captain of the women’s team, agreed with Hollis and said that much of both teams’ conditioning activities involve exercises designed specifically for the trail system at Mt. Blue. “This is our home course, so we train on it all season and we know it really well,” she said. “We do a lot of hill workouts because there are so many hills on this course.”

Pulito mentioned that preparation for races is not only physical but also mental. “We do a lot of visualization where we sit in a circle and [coach Dan Campbell] brings us through the race,” she said, “and we sit there with our eyes closed and picture the whole thing.”

Moninda Marube, an assistant coach of both the men’s team and the women’s team, said that he was extremely pleased with the tenacity shown by his runners during the race.

“Mentally and emotionally they’re very strong,” he said. “They worked hard; I saw them push, and it really worked out.”

Marube emphasized that his role as a coach was that of a supportive mentor and that the UMF runners deserved most of the credit for the team’s success.

“My purpose is to help them focus and not be nervous,” he said. “They prepared themselves very well. I’m impressed.”

The women’s and men’s teams will both be participating in the NCAA New England Regional Championships in Gorham, Maine later this month.

Full results from the NAC Cross Country Championships and details about the upcoming NCAA Regional meet can be found at http://athletics.umf.maine.edu/sports/wxc/2017-18/schedule for the women and http://athletics.umf.maine.edu/sports/mxc/2017-18/schedule for the men.

With the End of Fall Ball, UMF Softball Takes a Break.

With the End of Fall Ball, UMF Softball Takes a Break.

By Gavin Elliott – Contributing Writer

   UMF’s softball team recently completed their fall ball season with a tight-knit scrimmage that pitted Beaver against Beaver.

The 2017-2018 Softball Team (L to R)
Top row: Coach Kat McKay, Justice Merrill, Alyssa Dillan, Tasha DeRoche, Kailyn Hill, Brianna McGrath, Kayleigh Oberg, Brittany Dugal, and Kalyn Grover.
Bottom row: Melissa Veitch, Amber Grady, Callie Hammer, Margaret Fogarty, Erika Whitman, Taylor Burke, Amber Raymond, and Abby Shields.
Not shown: Kylee Atwood and Hope Faulkingham
(Photo courtesy of Kiana Thompson)

   After the scrimmage, UMF sophomore Alyssa Dillian said, “it was a great way to end the [fall ball] season because it was competitive, but also really fun.”

   This scrimmage was just one of several ways to help the team bond. According to second-year Head Coach Kat McKay, “the purpose of fall ball is to bring together a group of people, some who have never met or played together, put them on the same page, and start to build unity in what everyone already has knowledge of.”

   This especially benefits freshmen who have never had a chance to play with the softball team before. “I felt like a part of the team…I got to understand my new team’s personality,” said Callie Hammer, a UMF freshman.  

   UMF sophomore Amber Grady echoed her team’s sentiments. “It was definitely a learning experience for all of us.” Along with building skill and communication with the team, the players also learned about one another on a personal level.

   Beginning last year, the softball team went on its second annual team bonding trip. This year, the Beavers went camping in Avon, Maine for one night.

   “Last year we went canoeing,” said McKay. “It’s about getting the girls out of their comfort zones because they finally start to laugh together and let their guard down.”  

   Reiterating Coach McKay’s comment, Grady said, “[the camping trip] went really well, we all got to know everyone and see each other come out of our shells.”

   Reminiscing about the trip, Erika Whitman, a UMF sophomore, looked at her teammates and laughed, saying she “loved when we sat around the campfire and bonded over pizza and embarrassing stories.”

   Smiling and chuckling at Whitman’s comment, UMF sophomore Kalyn Grover added, “my favorite part was definitely watching the sunrise with my teammates,” said Grover.  

   After a two month break, the team will resume their hard work and practice at the start of the new year, followed by a trip to Clermont, Florida to compete in the 2018 Spring Games in March. Here, the Beavers will play a variety of teams from all over the U.S..

   At the Spring Games, the team will not only be together on the field, but also staying together for an entire week. “I’m looking forward to [the Spring Games], being with my team again and hanging out,” said Dillian. “[We] really bond in Florida when [we] get to live together and get our first chance to play against others with our new team.”

   Last year in regular season, the team’s only goal was to beat the previous year’s number of wins. However, the team “found so much success, it opened some of the other team’s eyes to UMF being a contender,” said McKay.

   Looking forward to the upcoming season, Dillian said, “it will take some work to get to where we left off last season, but I think we are capable of repeating what we did last year, even with our young team.”

   Although there is uncertainty about how this year’s team will perform in the spring season, one thing is clear: the team is looking forward to picking up their gloves and bats to prove themselves on the field once again.

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