New Assistant Coach Aspires to Help UMF Runners

New Assistant Coach Aspires to Help UMF Runners

By Keely McConomy Contributing Writer

Ryan Smith, one of the new assistant coaches for the UMF Track and Field team, is excited to help train student athletes. His goal as the assistant coach is to “make this sport a tradition” and “to elevate Maine running,” Smith said.

   Smith competes in professional running as well as coaching at UMF. Smith mostly works with l

New Assistant Coach Ryan Smith. (Photo Courtesy of UMF Athletics)

ong distances runners, supporting head coach Daniel Campbell. Smith and Campbell work together to help the student athletes improve as runners and people.

   “Dan helps me coach the big picture,” said Smith.

   Though Campbell has an outstanding reputation for his coaching career, Smith has brought some newer ideas to UMF that could help the team improve in many ways. Smith’s philosophy on coaching is all about planning for the future.

   Chloe Kenyon, a sophomore and second year Track and Field athlete at UMF, said Smith “goes from [the month of] May when we want to be at our peak and builds the workouts backwards from there.” Smith “is always excited at practice,” said Kenyon.

   Running is a mental and physical sport; helping the athletes prepare for the outdoor season is vital to their success. Smith loves coaching so much that he tells all his athletes that he will always be happy to help them continue the sport, even after they are done running for UMF.

   “For me, I’d love to stay here,” said Smith.

   He hopes to coach at UMF as long as he can and continue putting his best efforts into helping student athletes become the most successful they can be.

   Smith is a recent graduate from Goshen college in Indiana, where he was an All-American runner. He started competing in Track and Field in high school, and his goal from the first day was to beat the high school’s record for the five kilometer. He was told beating the record was impossible. By his senior year he proved his doubters wrong by beating the record by one second. At UMF, Smith wants to bring a similar legacy.

   UMF will be competing in the Maine State Open at the University of Southern Maine on February 24th. The meet is important to Smith and the UMF team because teams from nearby states will also be competing with all the Maine teams. “It’s an effort to draw people from out of state and show them, ‘Hey we can compete too,’” said Smith.

Faculty Share their ‘Rough Drafts’ in UMF Gallery

Faculty Share their ‘Rough Drafts’ in UMF Gallery

By Kristen Hill Contributing Writer

 

UMF Art faculty are working together to show the art they create outside of the classroom in a show called “Rough Drafts”, which will display their different perspectives about the contemporary world.

‘Scrap and Mire’ Small objects teeter on the edges of their ledges in Katrazyna Randall’s piece. (Photo by Eryn Finnegan)

   Artists in the show include professors Ann Bartges, Tom Jessen, Dawn Nye, Elizabeth Olbert, Jesse Potts, Katrazyna Randall and Barbara Sullivan. A variety of paintings, drawings and sculptures are currently on display in the Emery Community Arts Center as well as the UMF Art Gallery.

   Elizabeth Olbert created a piece called “The Part Played by Labor in the Transition from Bird to Man.” She says the piece is “a play on Friedrich Engles’ The Part Played by Labor in the Transition from Ape to Man, an important Marxist text from 1876.”

   Olbert uses a surrealist technique called soufflage where paint is blown to reveal an image. Rather than using paint, Olbert decided to use coffee on the piece. “You know me, I love coffee, it had to be a part of my piece,” Olbert said. She will be displaying three drawings that include this technique.

   The inspiration for this piece came from fellow artist and professor Katrazyna Randall. “I have been talking with Kate about nature and design for probably two years now,” Olbert said.

   Randall’s piece uses a surrealist perspective on consumerism and its effect on our environment. The piece is made with dull, everyday objects to represent flora and fauna, creating an emphasis on the impact we have on our environment and how a lot of nature is becoming a thing of the past. Randall’s love for painting landscapes and nature shows how nature has become unimportant and is losing meaning to many people. In Randall’s view, nature has to be nurtured and the piece shows neglect along with the rise in consumerism and plastic.

‘Nasty Maine Women Artists’ Barbara Sullivan’s tribute to Maine woman artists. (Photo by Eryn Finnegan)

   Jesse Potts, another member of the Art faculty, combines sculpture and photos in his installation. Potts built the piece inside the gallery, which entailed a lot of labor. Power tools, hammers and many other building supplies were used. Not only were these tools used to put the piece together, they are included as a part of the sculpture.

   Potts wanted to emphasize different perspectives on what home means to people. Potts’ piece is created in a way such that people from different backgrounds can connect to the piece and think about what home means to them.

   Barbara Sullivan gained inspiration for a series of portraits when President Trump called Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman.” Sullivan used oil paints to create portraits of more than fifty Maine women who are “strong and nasty women.” Sullivan knows all of the women personally and wanted to portray how powerful they are, as well as their commitment to their art and writing.

‘Arc’ The aluminum arc by Pott’s towers over viewers. (Photo by Eryn Finnegan)

   All of the artists in this show create art regularly and each installment will add a different feel to the show.  Olbert said, “The artists for this show are well chosen. It is a very eclectic group so there will be a wide variety of pieces. At such a small school you would expect people to be fairly similar, but we are lucky to have such a unique group of artists.”

   Many students only know their teachers through what is taught in their classes.  This exhibition provides students an opportunity to see their teacher’s abilities in a different light.

   The show is located in both the Emery Community Art Center and the UMF art gallery and is open until March 9. It is free and open to the public throughout this time.

Visiting Writer Spotlight: Meet Cristopher Bakken

Visiting Writer Spotlight: Meet Cristopher Bakken

By Willy Doehring Contributing Writer

Author Christopher Bakken. (Photo Courtesy of Christopher Bakken)

   Writer and poet Christopher Bakken will visit UMF to read from his work as the semester’s first installment of the Visiting Writers series, organized and hosted by the Creative Writing department.  

   Bakken is currently the chair of the English department at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.  He has a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing.  Bakken describes himself as “a Swiss-Norwegian hockey-playing hillbilly from rural Wisconsin who accidently fell in love with Greece,” giving much more insight into both his personal background and into his writing.

   However accidental it was, Bakken’s love of Greece is reflected in his work.  In his non-fiction book Honey, Olives and Octopus: Adventures at the Greek Table Bakken travels Greece to find the eight elements of the Greek table and explores the traditional ways that each of these elements are produced— among other things.

The cover of Bakken’s latest book ‘Honey, Olives, Octopus’ (Photo Courtesy of Christopher Bakken)

   “The chapters meander along the goat path, covering a lot of territory that has little to do with Greek cuisine,” said Bakken.  “By which I mean to say my book combines elements of memoir, travel writing, food pornography, historical musing, and action-adventure narrative.”

   Professor Jeffrey Thomson of UMF’s Creative Writing program is the primary organizer of the Visiting Writers series and was able to work with Bakken to organize the upcoming reading after another author canceled. The first reading was scheduled for February 15 and would have featured non-fiction writer Stephen Elliot, who was forced to cancel on short notice.
   Thomson was unavailable for interview regarding the matter, but Bakken was unfazed when he learned he was replacing Elliot.  “I had no idea, nor does it matter to me at all,” Bakken said.

   Bakken plans to read primarily from Honey, Olives, Octopus when he visits UMF, but he also recently published his third book of poetry called Eternity and Oranges. Bakken describes the book as being “full of spooky ghost poems,” departing a bit from his focus on Greece. Bakken’s reading will be on February 22nd at 7:30 p.m. in the Landing.

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