By Michael Levesque, Assistant Editor.
On Saturday September 25, 2021, the men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Saxl Park in Bangor, Maine to compete at the Husson Harrier Invitational.
A good race day for the men’s and women’s team was highlighted with the men’s squad capturing first place. Five members from the men’s team finished within the top 32 positions with three runners finishing in the top 15.
Captain Joe Ashby, a senior, finished 21st overall and indicated some uncertainty before the race in regards to where they would finish. “Going into the meet we weren’t really sure if we would win because we know that Colby [College] and Husson [University] have really strong programs,” Ashby said. “But we were there to run hard and compete.” Improving on their times was the main focus of practice in the weeks leading up to the meet but actually winning the meet became the overall goal. “We are training really hard for times but at the end of the day, we are here to win the NAC [North Atlantic Conference],” Ashby said.
Coach Sean Cabaniss said through the teams Instagram page that the men’s win was the “first time since 2018.” Cabaniss also said on the page that many of the team members individually had great races with “PR’s[personal records] almost across the board.”Ashby also recognized the efforts of each runner. “We have a really strong team this year. With NAC’s being at a difficult course this year, [Saturday October 30th hosted by Thomas College] we really want to win.”
Ashby knows that even with the recent success, challenges still remain ahead. “Winning is never easy. We weren’t the smallest team there but I do think we were the second smallest.” One major challenge to winning each race is the team size. “It’s hard when you have a bunch of other runners to displace your guys,” Ashby said.
But with any success comes a sense of pride. Ashby recognizes the overall accomplishment of the team. “To win was a great feeling because I don’t think we have won a meet in quite a few years.”
The Cross Country teams will have their next two meets Saturday October 2nd [hosted by Bates] and Saturday October 23 [hosted by Bowdoin] before competing in the NAC championship on October 30th.
By Page Brown, Contributing Writer.
After a year of canceled competition due to COVID-19, all six UMF fall varsity teams are well underway with an active season. The Beavers have seen immense success, with teams placing in several events and tournaments alongside individual athletes receiving numerous accolades.
The field hockey team experienced a tremendous kickoff to their season, winning the Caryl Newhof Classic tournament at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. The team defeated Westfield State 6-1, with senior Alex Bessey knocking in a career-high of 4 goals, and Smith College 3-2 in the final game. Alex Bessey and Grace DiMarco both took home the top New England Collegiate Conference awards, with Bessey claiming Offensive Player of the Week and DiMarco hailed Goalkeeper of the Week for the opening week of play. Since then, the team has posted a 3-3 record, including 1-1 in conference play.
The men’s soccer team has also exhibited a strong start to the season, posting a 5-1 record in the opening few weeks of the Fall 2021 campaign. The team faced early obstacles of game cancellations due to COVID and weather, however senior captain goalkeeper Jonah Sautter said these obstacles have only brought the team closer. “We’ve continued to look forward and focus on what we can control,” Sautter said. “We are all connecting on and off the field.” In their season opener, the Beavers performed strong, winning 5-1. The victory was the first opening game victory since 2017. Yusuf Mohamed scored two goals, with Sautter tallying a career-high of nine saves. The accomplishment awarded Sautter with the North Atlantic Conference Men’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week for the conference’s first week of play.
The following game was against NAC rival Husson University, where a late rally saw the Beavers fall short 2-1 with Jimmy Pelletier scoring the sole goal. Since the loss, the Beavers have won five consecutive games including victories against Castleton University, Northern-Vermont University-Johnson, the University of Maine at Presque Isle, SUNY Cobleskill, and SUNY Delhi. The Beavers saw narrow victories against Castleton University, Johnson, and SUNY Cobleskill, with the pair of 2-1 victories being attributed to the overall grittiness of the team. The 5-1 victory against UMPI saw the Beavers take 28 shots on goal, with Gracien Mukwa netting two goals. The strong start creates an optimistic look into the postseason. Senior Captain Silas Mohler highlighted this excitement, yet remained focused on the upcoming games. “The conference is full of talented teams hungry to win, it should be a fun postseason,” Mohler said. “We have a great group of guys and I’m excited for what’s to come.”
The women’s soccer team has posted a 1-5 record in their opening games. The squad now heads into conference play, having faced University of Maine at Presque Isle, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and SUNY Delhi. The team has gone 1-2 against NAC opponents. The team’s conference victory came with a 1-0 win over the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Morgan Thompsom logged the lone goal for the day, while Farmington held a 28-10 advantage in total shots, alongside six corner kicks to UMPI’s one.
The cross country teams have participated in three invitational tournaments at Colby-Sawyer College, Thomas College and Husson University. The group is young, with 13 of the 22 runners being first-years. Head coach Sean Caniss noted their effect, saying they have “made a big impact” on the competitiveness and culture of the team.
On the women’s side, the Beavers took fourth place at the Colby-Sawyer Invitational, with Anna MacDonald finishing in 16th place with a time of 23:37.43. The Beavers scored 96 points, finishing behind Colby-Sawyer with 29 points, Plymouth State with 52 points, and St. Joseph’s College of Maine with 62 points.
The women had a strong finish at Thomas, clinching second place with 48 points, with Husson University winning the event with 37 points. MacDonald finished in seventh, with a time of 27:04.78. Emily Eaton finished just behind MacDonald, crossing the finish line in eighth place with a time of 27:10.18.
At Husson, the women finished in third place with 66 points. Charlotte Wentworth finished tenth, with a time of 23:05.6. Colby College won the Husson Harrier event with 38 points, followed by Husson University with 47.
The men’s cross country team ended in second place at the Colby-Sawyer Charger Invitational. The Beavers saw three runners finish in the top seven. Justin Castaldo was the first finisher for the Beavers, placing fourth with a time of 17:01.10. The Beavers scored 40 points, with Plymouth State winning the meet with 34 points.
At Thomas College, the Beavers finished in third place with 74 points, behind the University of Southern Maine with 33 points, and Husson with 63 points. Justin Castaldo finished the race with a time of 31:03.57, securing 10th place. Teammates Covy Dufort and Jimmy Reel finished in 13th and 14th place, with times of 31:31.10 and 31:50.53, respectively.
The Beavers won the Husson Harrier Invitational, with five scoring runners in the top 13. Justin Castaldo was the first Beaver to cross the finish line, coming in sixth place with a time of 29:20.5, with teammate Covy Dufort crossing at 29:25.3, earning him seventh place. UMF scored 49 points to lead the event, with Husson finishing in second with 53 points, followed by Colby College with 63 points, Maine Maritime with 66 points, and Thomas College with 103 points.
The UMF Golf Team has participated in five matches so far. In a dual match against Thomas, UMF lost 340 to 325. Neil Larochelle III scored a 78 on the par 70 Waterville course, while teammates Kellen True and Ryan Sargent both scored 86. The team placed fourth at the Thomas College Invitational, with Larochelle III scoring a 70 on the same Waterville course. Chris Frey scored an 81, which earned him an 11th place tie. At the UMF Invitational, the Beavers placed sixth with a total of 337 points. Larochelle III finished with 79, while teammates Daniel Mickiewicz completed with a score of 85 and Jack Burton scored an 86. At the University of Southern Maine Cup, the Beavers placed third with a score of 231. The golfers played in pairs, with Mickiewicz/True tying for third with 73, Larochelle/Sargent finishing with 74, and Burton/Frey earning 10th with an 84. At the Bowdoin Invitational, the team ended in 15th place. Sargent scored an 83, while True and Larochelle both scored an 85.
By Paige Lilly, Contributing Writer
The UMF Athletics Department recently announced the start of its Racial Equity Committee (REC), which aims to create a safe environment where racially marginalized students can share their experiences while also working to make an impact here on campus. The REC announced its official presence on Monday in an Instagram post.
The group began soon after Molly Wilkie was named the UMF Athletics Diversity and Inclusion designee, a new role the NCAA now requires schools to have. As part of a group of people with this same designation at their respective Maine Division III (DIII) Universities, Wilkie realized that UMF was one of the few schools yet to have a group of this type. “I learned that many of the other schools had coalitions and groups specifically for their student athletes of color [the names of the groups are all slightly different],” Wilkie said in an email. “After learning about what other schools were doing I thought it was something vital that UMF athletics should be engaging in as well.”
Wilkie then reached out to a number of students-athletes who she thought may want to be a part of the group. “Molly emailed us and asked if it would be something we were interested in,” said Chloe Horn, a junior, field hockey player and a member of REC. “I believe she got the list of our names from our various coaches. Then we were able to set up our first meeting.”
Wilkie stressed the importance of student leaders like Horn in the success of the group thus far. “Although I am facilitating this group, it is all about the student-athlete leaders and working to support and amplify their voices and ideas,” said Wilkie.
The group aims to provide students who identify as non-white with a safe space to discuss their experiences. “Our group … wants to create a safe space for racially marginalized student-athletes for support and advocacy,” Wilkie said. “The group also wants to play a role in helping to educate about and identify the racial inequities that exist on our campus.”
“It’s the start of a conversation many students here don’t realize needs to be had,” said sophomore Mullein Francis, who is a nordic skier for UMF and a member of REC. “Because we all go to a school that is mostly white, I think a lot of people think, ‘Oh, it’s rural Maine, we don’t have to worry about that here,’ but in reality we do,” said Francis. “There are a lot of people here who deal with this kind of thing, and it’s good to be able to talk about it with people who understand.”
In fact, it’s that understanding that sparked the friendship between Horn and Francis. “We didn’t know each other before the group, it kind of started our friendship,” Horn said, sharing a laugh with Francis.
In that way, they believe the group is already beginning to be successful in bringing students who identify as non-white together, but they won’t stop there. “We have a lot of big goals,” said Francis. “We are thinking about eventually hopefully having a system where we can include other students as well, not just student athletes.”
However, Francis and Horn both agreed that the group needs a strong foundation before they can move to that goal. “We’re so ambitious, but we know that if we get too excited and try to move too fast it might hurt us in the long run. We know we need to build the group so that it’s strong, doing little events before big ones,” said Horn. In these efforts, these student-athletes believe they will be able to start an important conversation that lasts even after they graduate from UMF.
Any questions about REC should be brought to their Instagram account @umf_rec or emailed to Molly Wilkie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com. Auditions are not required and students with little or no experience are welcome.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for any COVID safe suggestions, “We are open to change and always want to do what the students want,” she said.