By Page Brown, contributing writer
Nathan Carson speaks to his players during a free throw against Bates College on Nov. 16. Courtesy of Jacqui Hamilton.
UMF’s women’s basketball team is off to a strong start under the guidance of newly hired interim basketball head coach Nathan Carson. The squad, who is sitting at 5-2, saw key wins including winning the Castleton Invitational Tip-Off Tournament and the UMF Tip-Off Tournament in their opening two weekends of play.
Carson came into the program familiar with the players and program as he served as an assistant coach for the men’s program since the 2014-2015 season. Carson himself is a UMF graduate, graduating in 2014 with a degree in community health and playing for legendary UMF coach Dick Meader. While playing for the Beavers, Carson saw immense success, starting for three years and scoring 536 points, while maintaining a 77.6% free throw percentage and 36.5% three-point field goal shooting percentage. During his senior season, the team reached the North Atlantic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship.
The new coach hopes to bring his success to the team as the squad looks for a deep tournament run.
“The team is off to a strong start, we have had some gritty wins in the first half of our season. We love to get out and run and have fun, and I know that when we do that, we can be a dangerous team in NAC play.”
The desire to reach the playoffs comes to no surprise as the team returns 13 players, including all five starters from the 2019-2020 season that saw the team reach the championship game. The veteran led group is headed by a large senior class, thanks in part to the pandemic granting two players an additional year of eligibility within the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Since the 2019-2020 season, the team has lost only four players: 2020 graduate Sara Lamb, 2021 graduates Halee Ramsdell, Kasey Talerico, and Chelsea Crockett. UMF forward McKenna Brodeur, a two-time first team all-star, looks to lead this year’s squad to a North Atlantic Conference Championship. She is joined by senior guard Alex Bessey, a second-team all star, and senior guards Makayla Wilson, Tia Day and senior forward Page Brown. Other key returning players for the Beavers this year include senior guard/forward Molly Folsom, junior guard Courtney Brent, and senior forward Cassidy Delano.
Yet the experienced group is also joined by a group of new players and coaches. Six players, Emily Small, Maddie Forgues, Kiely Renyolds, Jalyn Stacy, Jaycie Stevens, and Grace Woodman join the team. The group looks to make an immediate impact on the team, highlighting the talent on this years’ squad.
The squad was able to compete in only two scrimmages in the 2020-2021 season. However the 2019-2020 year saw the team going 14-14, culminating into a huge 70-63 win against conference foe Maine Maritime Academy in the NAC semi-final before falling to five time champion Husson University 70-60.
by Madison Archer, Contributing Writer
The UMF Dance Team is looking for members to join. Last season they lost 4 seniors and concerned students following the pandemic.
COVID-19 has significantly changed sports, clubs and school. For the Dance Team it has made it hard to practice while physically distancing, it’s difficult to find a space large enough to accommodate all members.
Alyssa Leonard, a senior and President of the team, said that finding room is one of their main struggles. “I guess just finding space. I’m sure other groups are dealing with that as well,” said Leonard.
Alyssa Leonard, President of the UMF Dance Team, has elaborate plans for the team to dance safely this season.
Photo courtesy of Sam Shirley.
In the past, the Dance Team has performed at TD Garden in Boston during Celtics games. This past March, their trip was cancelled due to COVID-19. “I don’t think [the trip] will happen this year,” said Leonard. “But the hope will be that we can set the team up to be financially ready to do it the following year.”
The team normally performs at halftime during UMF basketball games. Now, there are new COVID regulations where fans are unable to watch in person. The Dance Team has decided to focus on learning routines, having fun and creating workshops. “Right now we’re trying to start [team practices] outside so we will be physically together as much as possible,” Leonard said.
Even though the Dance Team has faced struggles with practicing and performing this semester, they haven’t stopped planning events that could involve the UMF community and beyond. The team is hoping to show a virtual showcase with UMF clubs, such as Clefnotes, Deep Treble, Bust-A-Move Beavers, The Lawn Chair Pirates and the cheer team at the Narrow Gauge drive-in theater for a show for UMF students.
Leonard is also hoping to plan a virtual showcase collaborating with other dance teams from different colleges and universities. “My hope is that we can compile a bunch of things from across New England and then make it into a YouTube video, kind of like a movie for our friends and families to watch,” Leonard said.
For those interested in joining the Dance Team, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Auditions are not required and students with little or no experience are welcome.
by Cassidy Delano, Contributing Writer
Women’s Basketball Coach Jamie Beaudoin promotes student athlete voting registration, as The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) set a 100% team registration goal.
The National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA) and the WBCA set high expectations for their student athletes. They encouraged all coaches to get all their student athletes registered to vote. “It’s a new initiative put forth by these coaching associations,” Beaudoin said. “Not to say it hasn’t always been important, but with the presidential election coming up, and social media being so big, this information is easier to get out,”.
Beaudoin shared this information with his team, asking who was registered and offering aid to players wanting to get registered. Being registered isn’t something he requires for his team, but feels a responsibility to promote it. “I think the most important thing for my team is that they are aware of the opportunity to be able to vote, and that I provide them with the support they need to get registered,” Beaudoin said.
Chelsea Crockett, a junior on the women’s basketball team got registered to vote soon after hearing about the national goal. “Voting is important to me because it gives me a say in how things are run on a local and national level,” Crockett said.
Beaudoin sees the value in voting as well. “Democracy is not a spectator sport, if you are not registered to vote you can’t participate. So my goal, as well as the goal of the NABC and WBCA, is to get as many new potential voters to register to vote, making it easier for them,” Beaudoin said.
Molly Folsom, a Junior on the women’s basketball team, is still unconvinced about getting registered. “I can’t help but think the system is rigged,” Folsom said. “It’s about who has more money in their pocket, rather than actual democracy.”
Crockett feels that student athletes have the ability to influence the rest of campus, and thus makes it more important for them to vote. “ I think it is important that we all are registered to vote and exercise our right to vote. We are leaders on campus and by being registered to vote we are showing how important voting is and hopefully encouraging the rest of campus to vote with us,” Crockett said.
Beaudoin recognizes that sometimes people don’t vote because they don’t really understand what they’re voting for. “One thing that’s really difficult is that most people understand the importance of voting, but don’t know what they’re voting for. This becomes a road block for people,” Beaudoin said.
Folsom agrees that lack of political knowledge is a factor that holds her back. “I sometimes feel I don’t know enough about politics to make an educated decision during an election,” Folsom said.
Crockett encourages her teammates as well as other students on campus to vote. “I definitely think student-athletes promoting voting will help other students realize how important voting is. I think as a college student it is hard to feel like you have a say in how things are run, but this is one of the ways to show how important one vote, and one person, can be in influencing our elected officials and our laws,” Crockett said.
For more information about voting visit https://allintovote.org/.