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 Abby Shields Contributing Writer
On October 28, the women’s cross country team set out on the course, striving to get to their goal of being conference champions at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, Maine.
“I felt very confident in our students to go out and run to their potential. I feel very fortunate to coach outstanding student-athletes,” said Joseph DiSalvo, coach of the cross country team. “They all prepared very well for this race, and I had confidence in them that they would go and execute well,” said Joseph Disalvo, coach of the cross country team.
The course was destroyed for the meet, because six races took place there the day before. It had also been raining and snowing leading into race day, making the course very muddy and slippery. The entire course was covered in water and mud, making it a tougher challenge, but they were all very prepared. “The weather conditions were cold and rainy,” said Gwen Baker, a senior at UMF. “The women’s team however had always performed well in poor conditions and this day was no exception.”
Everyone on the team had a different way of preparing for the race that day. “ To prepare for races I go over the course in my head and look at the teams we are going against,” said Julia Labbe, in an email interview. “I look up their past times to see who I should be around, and who I should look out for. I imagine where I can (or want) to make my moves in the race, and it helps me form a positive, motivated mindset.”
Their total score ended up being a 41, beating Husson by 5 points. After hearing the news from assistant coach Ryan Smith, many emotions arose for the runners who gave it their all. “I felt many different emotions. The top five runners score for their team. Team packing is crucial in attaining a low score,” said Baker. “We finished 3rd, 4th, 8th, 12th and 14th place. It was an amazing, surreal moment.”
“This win was really exciting because UMF was seated second, only one point behind Husson so we knew we had to give it our all,” said Labbe. Everyone at that meet gave it their all, pushing each other to a great finish.
“I am very proud of each and every student on this team,” said DiSalvo. “It takes a full team effort to win a conference championship, and they certainly worked hard for this accomplishment.”
Every runner stepped up and ran strong for the UMF cross country team, representing Farmington very well. Ending the season with first place in all conference was a huge accomplishment for the women’s team.
“We had a strong consistent women’s team. We dominated in many of the meets that had our conference teams in them,” said Baker. “With bigger meets we still did well and I’m excited to see what the women’s team can do next year! We’re going to be even better with gaining back strong runners we didn’t have this year.”
By Devin Lachapelle – Contributing Writer
Led by three individual top-ten performances for the women and two individual top-ten performances for the men, UMF’s women’s and men’s cross country teams earned second and third place finishes at the North Atlantic Conference Cross Country Championships, which took place in Farmington for the first time in ten years.
UMF’s top female runner was Katie LeBlanc, who placed second out of ninety-five total runners. Teammates Laura Pulito, Gwen Baker, Chloe Kenyon and Molly Jack finished fifth, eighth, twenty-third and twenty-fourth, respectively.
UMF’s best male runner of the day was Jeremiah Sands, who finished second in a field of eighty-five. Robbie Hollis finished in eighth, while David Doering, Cory McCullough, and Connor Marland rounded out the rest of UMF’s scoring positions at eighteenth, thirtieth and thirty-third.
The NAC Championships were held on the Mt. Blue High School campus in Farmington, which Hollis, a captain of the men’s team, said was to the advantage of the UMF runners.
“It’s a slow course, considering the hills, and mentally we knew we would have that edge as a team if we trained here,” he said.
Hollis, in his fourth year at UMF, said he was excited that Farmington had the chance to host such a big event. “There’s a set schedule where it’s decided where the North Atlantic Conference meet is held each year,” he said, “and it was good to see that NACs were going to be held here my senior year.”
UMFs Robbie Hollis approaches the finish line as assistant coach Moninda Morube (left) watches.
Photo Courtesy of Devin Lachapelle
Pulito, a captain of the women’s team, agreed with Hollis and said that much of both teams’ conditioning activities involve exercises designed specifically for the trail system at Mt. Blue. “This is our home course, so we train on it all season and we know it really well,” she said. “We do a lot of hill workouts because there are so many hills on this course.”
Pulito mentioned that preparation for races is not only physical but also mental. “We do a lot of visualization where we sit in a circle and [coach Dan Campbell] brings us through the race,” she said, “and we sit there with our eyes closed and picture the whole thing.”
Moninda Marube, an assistant coach of both the men’s team and the women’s team, said that he was extremely pleased with the tenacity shown by his runners during the race.
“Mentally and emotionally they’re very strong,” he said. “They worked hard; I saw them push, and it really worked out.”
Marube emphasized that his role as a coach was that of a supportive mentor and that the UMF runners deserved most of the credit for the team’s success.
“My purpose is to help them focus and not be nervous,” he said. “They prepared themselves very well. I’m impressed.”
The women’s and men’s teams will both be participating in the NCAA New England Regional Championships in Gorham, Maine later this month.
Full results from the NAC Cross Country Championships and details about the upcoming NCAA Regional meet can be found at http://athletics.umf.maine.edu/sports/wxc/2017-18/schedule for the women and http://athletics.umf.maine.edu/sports/mxc/2017-18/schedule for the men.