The Dance Team Plans for a Safe Fall Season

The Dance Team Plans for a Safe Fall Season

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 Dance Team

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 umf.danceteam-group@maine.edu. Auditions are not required and students with little or no experience are welcome. 

Intramural Sports Kick Off the New School Year

by Faith Rouillard, Contributing Writer

    Over 125 students signed up to participate in kickball, thus launching intramural sports for the 2020-21 school year at UMF. 

    “Intramural sports are sports leagues that are designed to be played on campus with our UMF community,” said FRC Assistant Director Leah Brackett. Students began with kickball and after a two week season and a one week playoff period, the sport and teams will switch completely. 

    Games take place four nights a week at the FRC: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:00-11:00 p.m. Each game takes no more than an hour and not every team plays all four nights. Senior and kickball caption Ella Russel said, “It’s important to move your body, and this a fun way to stay active!”

    “Intramurals are very important right now,” said Brackett. “It is a way to keep our students engaged and on campus.” 

    “Intramural sports provide a way to connect with people on campus that I wouldn’t normally bump into,” said Russel. “Intramurals provide social networking, familiarity with FRC and the amenities it has, and stress relief.” Russel explained how intramural sports are an effective study break. “I recommend intramural sports to the entire student body.”

    Typically, the staff provides a variety of sports and activities, including volleyball, kickball, pickleball, indoor soccer, arena football, basketball, dodgeball, among others. This year, the staff has to be cautious in what sports can take place while maintaining social distancing guidelines. 

    Due to the pandemic, upon arrival students are met at the door by staff members to check-in. They are required to self-screen and report to the staff. “We ask that everyone sanitizes their hands and wear a mask the entire time they are in the building,” said Brackett. The FRC is closed to the public during games and doesn’t allow spectators, limiting the number of people in the building. The staff diligently disinfects equipment periodically during games as well. 

    Brackett is the intramurals coordinator and leads all student staff. Callie Hammer is this year’s student leader and makes the staff schedules, referees games, “and helps out my amazing boss, Leah Brackett,” she said. 

    “Our staff dynamics are awesome,” said Brackett. “Working intramural sports teaches confidence and conflict resolution.” A large majority of the student staff are UMF varsity athletes.

    “If you’re not on a sports team but still appreciate competition, intramural sports are a great alternative,” said Russel. Many students on varsity teams participate in intramurals but not all that participate in intramurals play varsity sports.

    “For old high school athletes, intramurals gives a sense of normalcy for being on a team again,” said Hammer. “Intramurals is a great atmosphere and a lot of the students enjoy participating.”

    “My goal is to increase participation in intramural sports,” said Brackett. The 125 students are spread out among nine kickball teams, but there is typically room for up to 16 teams. 

    “Teams are very simple to set up,” said Russel. “As the captain, I went to the Facebook page and filled out my team’s roster.” To get involved in intramural sports visit their Facebook page (UMF Intramural Sports) or their Instagram page (@umfimsports). 

    Pickleball will be the next sport to take place. Contact Leah Brackett via email at leah.brackett@maine.edu for any COVID safe suggestions, “We are open to change and always want to do what the students want,” she said.

Women’s Basketball Team Strives to Register All Players to Vote

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/.

Athletes to See Season Changes Due to Pandemic

by Ashley Clark Contributing Writer

     Near the end of summer break, UMF made the decision to allow student athletes to participate in their sports season; however, these seasons have been altered to align with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

    The athletics department came to this tough decision after watching numerous videos and Zoom calls from the National College Athletic Association (NCAA), led by medical professionals. 

    The department is also keeping up to date with COVID-19 trends in Maine in order to protect incoming student athletes returning to school in the fall.

    Julie Davis, Director of Athletics, worked with coaching and sports medicine staff on campus, in addition to attending meetings with athletic directors from within the sports conference. “You have challenges as a director anyway, but probably the hardest thing is dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity for a sustained period of time,” said Davis. 

    The athletic department was determined to develop a plan of action that would allow student athletes to participate in sports. They have also made it mandatory that all student athletes living on and off campus must participate in the early testing program provided by a COVID-19 testing company in the Fitness and Recreational Center (FRC).

    Fall sports such as field hockey, soccer and cross country are not able to compete, but athletes are still able to attend practices. 

    The department has developed a month long process with differing levels of intensity for each week, with the intention for safe team practices.  

    The first week of practice involved routine temperature checks with no equipment use— conditioning exercises only. All practices must also consist of physical distancing at six feet, wearing a face mask and sanitizing when possible. 

    Jade Petrie, a junior and Early Childhood Education major, participates in both field hockey and lacrosse. Wearing her mask during her practices has been hard enough, even at the start of her fall sports season. “It’s really hard to wear because when you start to run, you breathe heavily and suck in the mask,” Petrie said. “It makes it almost impossible for you to catch your breath.”

    Liz Ouellette, senior and Elementary Education major, is also a member of the field hockey team. Her last season has been impacted by the changes to the fall sports season. “There’s no team bonding, such as having dinners together, because there are too many people to be in a house. We can’t have bus rides, games, anything really,” said Ouellette.

    The athletics department is working hard to assure that athletes are able to at least practice. Many are just grateful to even be able to participate with one another. “I think it is better to have something than nothing,” says Ouellette. “It’s my senior year and having practices with a team I’ve spent the past three years with is better than not being able to at all.”

    Petrie praises all the department’s work and planning. “I’m thankful that they are letting us have an opportunity to pick up my field hockey and lacrosse stick, regardless of playing games,” says Petrie.

     COVID-19 guidelines are changing continuously, which makes it difficult to predict how the winter and spring sports seasons will look for student athletes. While fall sports already have a plan in motion, winter and spring sports are still being discussed. Winter sports are scheduled to start practicing soon. The athletic department is “planning [these seasons] with optimism,” says Davis.

UMF Softball Swings Into Victory Against Alumni

By Alicia Davis – Contributing Writer

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, the UMF softball team had a game against alumni at the softball field. UMF softball beat the alumni team 3-­2.

   Coach Kat McKay, who will be entering her second year as the softball coach at UMF, felt that the game went well. “For the first year in many years without an alumni game, this

year was fantastic. I believe [the alumni] had an absolute blast,” said McKay. “They showed they still have all the skills to get the job done.”

   Kailyn Hill, a junior at UMF and member of the softball team for the past two years, felt that the alumni game was very competitive. “We had a lot of fun. We had a back and forth game, so it was very competitive,” said Hill. “I pitched the first three innings, and then I played first base after.” This upcoming spring will be her third year playing softball for Farmington.

   Alison Hamilton, a UMF alum, returned to play for the alumni team. She reclaimed her spot

in right field, where she played all four years during her time on the team at UMF. Hamilton’s favorite part about the game was getting to see her friends she met from softball.

   “It was nice to see some former beavs, and reminisce about our time at UMF,” said Hamilton.

   Eight alumni showed up to play in the game. “Because the alumni were down a player, the

UMF softball team leant us a player until Coach Pratt came in during the 5th inning to play for us,” said Hamilton.

   The game was close to being tied in the end. The alumni and the UMF softball team felt both teams played well. “Our skills were equally matched,” said Hamilton. “We kept scoring back to back until we finally pulled through near the end of the game.”

   McKay is looking forward to the spring season. “ I’m truly excited about this spring. We lost a handful of good athletes from our roster last year, but were able to replace and refocus with a large freshman class.”

   Alyssa Dillan, a sophomore at UMF who will be playing her second year for the softball team this spring, is looking forward to what the season will bring for the team.

   “I have high hopes for the spring season,” said Dillan. “I think that we have a lot of potential right now and I trust coach McKay will help us reach that potential.”

   “We are selling pies to support our team to go to Florida in the spring,” said Hill. The softball team has an annual trip during the March spring break to Florida, where they will practice against other teams in preparation for the upcoming season.

   People can support the UMF softball team by purchasing pies for their fundraiser. If anyone wants to purchase a pie, they can contact Coach Kat McKay for more details.