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.
Samantha Creech Contributing Writer
The head coach of men’s basketball, Dick Meader, has made a profound impact on the team since 1993. Coach Meader is in the Hall of Fame at both Thomas College and UMF for his achievements as a player and coach. This year alone, Meader has received his third Coach of the Year honor from the National Atlantic Conference (NAC), the Division III Outstanding Service Award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches and earned his 500th career win.
Meader is proud of his team and the work they’ve put in this season. “It was a great season, with a disappointing ending,” he said. “It was a tough ending that should not mask the great season that we had.”
The team went 22-5 this season, while going 13-1 in the NAC Conference regular season.
There were many factors that led to the team’s success. “We were fortunate because two days before school started, Terion Moss contacted us and he certainly made a difference in the season in a positive way,” Meader said. “We knew we had a good group of seniors, and a pretty good group of freshmen. With the seniors, it was tough to get a lot of time for the freshmen, but it will be a good team next year. A very good team.”
Meader and his staff had a strategy going into the 2019-2020 season to make it their best one yet. “The strategy really was to do what we are good at. We wanted to play fast, because we thought that was our best opportunity to score. Defensively, try to take away good shots from the opponent and rebound the basketball.”
Meader knew at a young age that he wanted to be a part of basketball because of his enjoyment of the sport. Starting in 6th grade, he knew he wanted to be a coach. “I was fortunate enough to be in the right places at the right time to be that, and have that opportunity,” said Meader.
As a UMF alumnus, Meader said the Farmington community has done so much for him throughout his years, which is one of the reasons why he has loved being a coach here for so long. “I was a first-generation kid from a very small town. I had two great coaches and two faculty members that really cared about me and wanted me to do well, and made sure I did the right things,” he said.
“The college itself is me. I think of it as it being my home. It did so much for me. To be able to coach here the last few years, I didn’t expect to, but all of a sudden there was an opening and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
He has made an incredible impact on his players throughout the years and has the respect of many throughout New England. Senior forward, Billy Ruby, said Meader has influenced him a lot these last four seasons. “Coach Meader has had a huge impact on my collegiate basketball career,” he says. “He has given me a lot of confidence on the court throughout my four year career. That is something that I always struggled with in my game before coming to UMF. Whenever there is a problem or something that I need assistance with, I can always rely on Coach Meader for assistance. It’s more than just basketball, he really wants his players to succeed in life. “
Ruby isn’t the only player who has had a positive experience with Coach Meader. First Year forward, Drew Storey, has been a part of the Men’s Basketball program for one season, but can already identify his favorite things about his head coach. “One of my favorite things about Coach Meader is how he knows so much about the game of basketball and wants to give back to it,” he said. “His coaching style is very unique I think because of that. He’s been around basketball for so long he knows exactly what to do every single time.”
By Sara Lamb Contributing Writer
The University of Maine at Farmington Men’s basketball team boasts a nine game winning streak as their season comes to a close. The men’s team came into th
Billy Ruby returned to compete in the conference semifinals. (Photos Courtesy of UMF Athletics)
e North Atlantic Conference (NAC) in 5th place as they headed into the semifinal round of playoffs at New England college after Defeating the Thomas Terriers 92-83 at the quarterfinals.
Although the team fell short of the final match with a score of 71-56, they had a season for the record books, winning 14 of their 26 games and beating the top two teams in the conference. Alan Young, a Junior forward, called their nine game winning streak “a great confidence booster for us.”
Prior to the game, Eric Berry, a Senior captain of the team, said in an email interview, “We’re peaking at the perfect time. We have high confidence, and now we just have to win three more.” Berry said the team was hopeful that they could win it all because they had beaten the top two teams.
Berry said that it felt good to be the captain of a tight-knit group of guys who all got along and shared a unifying goal. Berry took it upon himself to personally prepare for the first playoff game.
“I [was] watching film of the opposing team, getting treatment from the athletic trainers, and getting shots and practicing,” Berry said.
Young expressed that the sport will always be important to him no matter what.
“I have played my whole life and I’ve worked very hard to get to where I’m at,” Young said. “Basketball is a sport that has made me a more competitive and successful person and I owe that to the sport.”
Dick Meader is the head coach of the men’s basketball team and has achieved success with the team over seasons.
Dick Meader is the head coach of the Men’s Basketball team and has coached at UMF for 25 seasons. In that time, Meader has brought close to 20 of his teams to the playoffs and has won the North Atlantic Conference championship once in 2010. When asked about the game plan for the first playoff game, Meader said, “nothing really different except we got a couple guys back.” Meader is referring to the return of players Billy Ruby and Amir Moss, who were in better shape than when they played the Thomas Terriers.
Meader added that the Men’s Basketball team is “a group of guys that are very unselfish, and it’s fun to watch them play. They work hard in practice trying to get better, they do what you ask them to do, and it’s just a good group of guys, good students. It’s always fun.”