Bates Bobcast Episode 155: Women's rowing makes history at the Head of the Charles

On Sunday, the Bates women's first varsity eight became the first crew ever to win the Collegiate Eights at the Heard of the Charles three consecutive years! Plus, the women's golf team won the New England Intercollegiate Golf Championship and the cross country teams shined at Oberlin College in the inter-regional rumble. All that and more, on the Bates Bobcast!

Interviews this episode:

  • 1:22 -- Maya Seshan '20, Women's Rowing Captain and First Varsity Eight Coxswain (Female Bobcat of the Week).
  • 11:09 -- Aidan Temperino '21, Men's Rowing Varsity Four Coxswain.
  • 22:24 -- Olivia LaMarche '20, Women's Cross Country Captain.
  • 27:54 -- Bart Rust '22, Men's Cross Country (Male Bobcat of the Week).
  • 37:16 -- Ellie Murphy '21, Women's Golf.
  • 44:49 -- Sydney Phillips '22, Volleyball.
  • 48:39 -- Haley Washington '21, Women's Tennis.
  • 58:37 -- Malik Hall, Head Coach, Football.

Bobcast Transcript

Aaron: This is the Bates Bobcast! Our weekly podcast where we take a look at the week that was, in Bates athletics. My name is Aaron Morse and this week we’re celebrating a third straight Collegiate Eights gold medal for the women’s rowing team at the Head of the Charles regatta! Plus, the women’s golf team won the New England Intercollegiate Golf Championship and the cross country teams shined at Oberlin College in the inter-regional rumble! All that and more, coming up, on Bates Bobcast! 

Aaron: Guided by senior captain coxswain Maya Seshan, the Bates women's first varsity eight made history by claiming first place out of 27 boats in the Women's Collegiate Eights at the 55th Head of the Charles Regatta on Sunday.

Aaron: The three-time defending NCAA champion Bobcats become the first program to take first place at the Head of the Charles in the Collegiate Eights race three consecutive years. It's the fourth time in program history Bates has won the Collegiate Eights race, tying the Bobcat women with Williams College for the most wins since the race was first established in 2002.

Aaron: Seshan and her crew navigated the winding 4,800-meter course on the Charles River in 16:26.595. And Maya Seshan is our Female Bobcat of the Week! 

Aaron: Female Bobcat of the Week, senior captain Maya Seshan with us here on the Bobcast talking women's rowing. And well, the Bobcats did it again Maya. This is your first time coxing the varsity eight at the Head Of The Charles, got another gold medal though, third in a row for the program. Take us through the experience of steering the team down the river there.

Maya: Absolutely. I think, it goes without saying that this boat of women was just an incredible one. And, regardless of who did end up coxing them or who was going to end up coxing them, I think they as a boat are very mature. We got a lot of upperclassmen in that boat, three really strong seniors in Emma Wheeler and Hannah Fitts, Grace Smith, three of them, super strong. And then obviously, we had a lot of really strong juniors in there. And then, one sophomore who brought us in, but it's a mature boat, it makes it easy to cox. And frankly, just having their power coming down the river was amazing. The Charles is not an easy course by any means. And so, having a stroke seat to look at who made me feel calm, having the rest of the boat there to back me up was just... it was an awesome experience.

Aaron: I understand there's tons of alumni there cheering on the team down the course. Did you notice that? I was talking to Aidan on the men's side, talk about how he could hear, when they go into the bridges, hear the fans saying, "Go Bates," and stuff.

Maya: Oh, totally. I think there probably wasn't a single stretch of that entire river where we couldn't hear alumni, or we couldn't hear someone screaming Bates, which is just... It's not our river, but it felt like it for a little bit, just because of the number of alumni that are there cheering on. You can hear people. And I think for the rowers and for me as well, it's just... it's energizing, it's exciting. It's what gives you that fire to keep going.

Aaron: So, unlike in a 2K race, not everyone goes at once, right?

Maya: Yes.

Aaron: So, when did you find out that you'd won?

Maya: This is actually a funny moment. So, we finished the piece, and I was really happy with it. I thought it was a great piece. And, they could barely talk, they were so tired.

Aaron: Yeah.

Maya: And that's typical for post races. We went all the way down. They make you go down a little farther to cool down, turn and started coming back. And we were approaching the dock, and this man on a launch, on a coaching launch, he goes, "You know, Bates, why aren't you smiling? Smile Bates. Smile, come on. Let me see some smiles." And all of us are sitting there and we're like, "Why should we be smiling? We don't know what happened." We're nervous, we're scared, we don't know what the result was. And, as we get back onto the dock, we finally dock and Haley is putting up a number one sign. And that's kind of when everyone was like, "Okay, we got it. We got it." And that was a great feeling.

Aaron: Nice. And then the podium obviously always fun to go up there and accept the gold medal, right? Well, what was it like out there?

Maya: Absolutely. I think, again, it goes without saying that no boat would be here without the rest of the team, without the coaches who make it all possible, without 2V and the four and the rest of the women's team, the rest of the men's team, honestly, that help us get where we can go and where we could possibly be. So, it's looking down at those people and seeing their faces smiling back up at us that make us get to where we can go. I mean, it's just hugest thanks and hugest support and love for the coaches and for the rest of our team.

Aaron: You mentioned that you were happy when you crossed the finish line and how it went. You felt it went pretty good. Were there any parts that were a little more nerve wracking down the course? I mean, I know there's some tricky turns under the bridges and everything.

Maya: Absolutely. There are always moments going through the Charles where you're, as a coxswain you're either on the rudder, or you're just having your rowers crank, and you're like, "Oh man, I'm not going to make this turn," or, "I'm going to hit a bridge this time. This is not feeling good." But it's a wonder that sometimes that feeling means you're turning hard enough, or you're getting there. And so, definitely I'd say for me the hardest turns are always Weeks and Eliot. And Weeks was one where I was like, "Okay, we made it, fine." And then Eliot I was like, "Okay. Yeah, we nailed this one. We got this." And it was a great feeling coming out of Eliot and feeling like, "Yeah," as a boat we had just had a good row. And I think for us that was something that we really just wanted to feel good coming down the course.

Aaron: And for those who don't know, Eliot's like one of the bridges.

Maya: Yes. Eliot's one of the bridges. Eliot's the last bridge. So, it's about 1K left there. And so, for us it's like, you come through that 1K point out of about five K race and you're like, "Okay, this is where I'm letting it all loose. I am burning the gas that's left in this tank we're driving."

Aaron: Because at that point, if you make that turn, is it basically just like you're back in a 2K sprint?

Maya: Kind of. Yeah. Pretty much. You're through that turn. You finish up the last little bit of it and you're straight shot to the finish line and you just empty it, you just go for it. And I think I felt that, I think they felt that. And especially for the seniors in the boat, it was like, "Just, we got to do this. We got to do this." And it was awesome, yeah.

Aaron: You have fellow captains on the team as well. Hannah Fits, as you mentioned, she's in the boat. One other captain as well I believe, right?

Maya: Grace Murnaghan, yes, in the 2V.

Aaron: What's it like so far working with them?

Maya: Oh, it's nothing but incredible. It is. I think every person's dream to work with two other captains who are just so on the same page and so supportive, but I think we are so, so lucky in that every other senior on the team has us backed up. And there are three official captains, but every senior is like a captain on this team. And I think you couldn't ask for anything better to have a senior class that supports you in every decision you're making and have the maturity and respect and responsibility of every sort of other person... every other upperclassmen on the team is just... it's been so awesome.

Aaron: Peter mentioned that after the race is over, he's typically just surrounded by a bunch of parents and he can't... There's no time to do anything. For you, were you're just surrounded by a bunch of alumni, or your family and whatnot?

Maya: Totally. I think seeing the alumni on Saturday and then having them be there again on Sunday is just... It's such a great feeling to have everyone kind of run up to you and congratulate you. And I think for me, my progression throughout the team, it's been, it was... I couldn't have asked for a better way to finish it out. And my dad ended up surprising me and coming too, which was so nice. And so, it was just an awesome feeling. There are really no words to describe. It is super cool.

Aaron: So, a little bit about maybe your background, you're a senior now. How did you first decide you wanted to come to Bates for college from Connecticut?

Maya: Totally. We had students from my high school who did end up going to Bates, and I had a family friend who had gone to Bates, and they had an endless list of things they loved about it. And for me, I knew I wanted to row in college. I knew I wanted to cox in college. And so, it was finding a place that really made that a possibility. And I made my decision to go to Bates later than I should have. I couldn't have been happier about it. And then, I've absolutely no regrets. Bates has been, and is one of the best experiences I've ever had in my life.

Aaron: Well, winter season now... not really a season, but winter, the rowers have to get on that erg machine by themselves. And what do the coxswains do now? Do you get a little downtime, or no?

Maya: No. Downtime doesn't exist in rowing. So, if anything, I like to think of winter season as the season where we push ourselves in the spring. And frankly, spring season starts here for us. So yeah, fall may be over and it's unfortunate that we're off the water in another week, but winter is where we get faster. You win races in the winter. And so, it's as captain as a coxswain, pushing the team every second weekend in that erg room. And the rowers just have the mental endurance and the capability and the discipline to get in there and work hard every day. So, as coxswains, we got to back them up and do it too. We got to be in there and-

Aaron: Do you get on the erg also?

Maya: Oh, no. But, we're in the erg room coxing as much as we can.

Aaron: Yeah.

Maya: If there are circuits, if they're other workouts, we're doing those two. And so, as a coxswain, it's a great time to get the chance to work out yourself. And yeah, it may not be on the erg, but doing other stuff too.

Male: Sure.

Maya: Yeah. So, supporting them in any way we can.

Aaron: So, as a senior, what are you studying? What are you majoring here at Bates?

Maya: I'm a politics major. I'm pre-med. So, trying to balance those two things has been kind of interesting and fun in some ways, not so fun than others, but trying to finish up figuring out what plans are next, yes.

Aaron: Do you see medical school then in your future?

Maya: Hopefully. Yes. Hopefully. We'll see what the next year and a half has in store for me, and then kind of figuring out what the med school application process is going to look like. Yes, totally.

Aaron: Okay, great. And then, well, any final thoughts on the race down the Charles and getting that third straight gold medal for the team?

Maya: I mean, I think it's clear that my predecessors and then the people who came before me are the ones who have really set that path. And it's giving the boat, the people in that boat, the course that they deserved. Giving the rest of the team, the course that they deserved, I think was really important to me. And being able to just hold that place, re-earn that bow number one for next year is what I was thinking about. Just, how do you leave that legacy for the people behind you and earn it again for the people who earned it before?

Aaron: All right. Maya Seshan, our Female Bobcat of the Week. Thanks so much.

Maya: Thank you. 

Aaron: The women’s second varsity eight was the top finisher among 2V boats, finishing 16th and the varsity four took a program-best 11th out of 36 boats in its race. 

Aaron: On the men’s side, led by senior coxswain Holland Doyle, the first varsity eight finished 17th out of 38 boats in the Collegiate Eights race on Sunday, an improvement over last year's 22nd place finish. The Bobcats also entered a boat in the Men's Collegiate Fours and junior coxswain Aidan Temperino led the Bobcats to a strong 14th place showing out of 40 boats. 

Aidan: So, it's definitely very different from coxing an eight in the sense that I'm kind of in a whole new position in the boat. So when you're coxing an eight, you're in the back of the boat or the stern of the boat kind of steering. And then when you're coxing a four, you're in the bow of the boat, so you kind of lie down in the front in this little cockpit of the boat and you kind of lie down all scrunched up. And then you have a little steering device right in front of you, so you can't see any of your rowers who are all moving behind you. So, you kind of just have to have a lot of faith in them, and that everything's going well behind you, but you do have a good clear shot of the course kind of ahead of you. So, that's the main kind of difference of coxing a four.

Aaron: Interesting. You mentioned you can't see your own rowers. Are you communicating with them though? How do you do that?

Aidan: Yes. So, the whole time I'm talking to them about what I can see in front of me, what I can kind of feel in the boat. So, a lot of coxing a four is all about how you feel your rowers behind you and you can make a lot of technical calls, and advice to them how to fix things based on how it feels for you in the bow. So, again, though going back to a lot of trust. It's a lot of me communicating with them. And then I have my bow seat who is Jackson Chung yesterday, and he was communicating with me about what he could see going in the other direction. So, he's only a few inches behind me, so we would kind of be constantly in communication with each other. So, it's a lot of communication in a four.

Aaron: Last year, you had an interesting experience at the Charles where, because of some travel snafus, I recall you had to jump in and cox the first varsity eight on the river. What was that experience like? What'd you learn from that? Do you apply this even though it was a four instead of an eight?

Aidan: Yeah, it was definitely a crazy experience last year along with getting a notice, a call about, I would say maybe three hours before the race last year, getting a call saying, "Can you come take the team down The Charles today?" So, that was kind of a whole experience. The weather last year was also very different than how it was yesterday. It was really windy. It was very cold. There was some white caps throughout the race, so a very different experience last year and it was also in an eight.

Aidan: So, this year I learned a lot from that, going into this year is such as just kind of how to navigate the course in a better way, what to expect more going into it, because last year was the first time I had coxed Head Of The Charles. So, kind of it was a really great learning experience. And then bringing that this year, where I had a little bit more of a heads up going into the race this year. It really gave me a good perspective about what to expect come Sunday at race time, and kind of how to keep my rowers calm. And then, kind of have a good calming presence in the day was really important for me.

Aaron: Nice. And your background is interesting. Coming to Bates, you'd never been involved with rowing, if I understand. So, how did you get involved with the program here?

Aidan: Yeah. So, I had heard about rowing throughout high school, but my high school didn't have a rowing team at the time. So, it had been something I'd really be interested in coming into college. And then my JA my first year here, was the men's first varsity coxswain for a couple... The past couple of years, Ariel Lee, so she kind of talked to me a lot about her experience doing it, and really encouraged me to come out and just try it for a day. And then, a day kind of turned into a week, and then turned into the fall season. And then here we are three years later. I'm still kind of really being very passionate about doing it, loving being a coxswain on the team. I'm not quite big enough to be a rower. I didn't quite have that height, so I think it was a really good position for me to kind of get into this sport at that level. And then, I've learned a lot from our coaches here, from the other rowers, have all been really kind and welcoming to me as far as with the learning curve, as far as the learning curve goes, and really giving me great advice and tips on how to get better and improve my performance, so I can better help them.

Aaron: I was going to ask about that learning curve, because, I mean, I can only imagine going... the first rowing practice. What was the first one you went to like? And what were the first things you had to learn?

Aidan: Yeah. I remember very distinctly getting in the boat the first day and actually Max Milavetz, who is one of our senior captains right now, was actually my stroke seat at that time. And I remember that first day he just kept giving me new hints and tips as far as things to say, how to steer the boat properly, and kind of just help keep a calm presence in the boat, which I think is one of the most important jobs that a coxswain has, is making sure everyone feels calm and know that there is someone leading them. So, that's kind of the biggest thing I've had to learn over the years is just how to keep myself calm, keep my rowers calm and make sure that they know that I have everything under control. So, that's kind of a big thing that's come about it is my confidence. So, I've really learned that over the years.

Aaron: And you're a junior now. But your first-year here, you got to be an alternate at IRAs, right?

Aidan: Yeah.

Aaron: What was that experience like making that trip? And did you realize, I mean, it was their goal, but you didn't have much of a background rowing. Did you realize the level, what this meant kind of?

Aidan: Yeah. It definitely was an absolutely crazy first year to be here on the rowing team. I had no idea going into that what IRAs was. I remember one of the first weeks the captain started kind of mentioning these acronyms, and I had no idea what they were talking about until probably later into the season when it finally started to become something that was on our horizon that we were really working towards. And then, that first season getting to be the coxswain for the men's varsity four at NRCs where we got to win the gold medal that year, which was really, really special. And then, kind of really hopefully, set the tone for a lot of the other boats the rest of the day was really, really special. So, getting to be a part of the program and join on that year was absolutely unforgettable and kind of a crazy journey that has let us here.

Aidan: But, I think beyond everything that's happened in the past, the most important aspect that we kind of took away from that year was how close we became as a team that year and the dynamics that we had with each other I think it was the most important thing. But, it was crazy to kind of come in on my first season of rowing and then reached that level right off the bat was absolutely insane. And getting to be at the IRA Regatta was truly something I don't think I'll ever forget.

Aaron: Yeah, because you're gold metal in the fours. I believe it was the first gold medal Bates had won at NIRCs, in a men's rowing ever, right?

Aidan: Yeah. Yes it was. Which is definitely something really special. I'll never forget that. It's framed on my wall right now. So, very, very proud of that. And even though a lot of the guys in that four have now graduated and moved on, we're still very close. We've remained close over the years, which has been really, really special to me. We had a really great dynamic. And I think that's a big part of rowing in general, especially very much in any two. But I also think in a four, it's really important to have a strong dynamic of people who really trust each other and have each other's. And I think we had that, both then and then we also really had that on Sunday with a whole new group of guys.

Aaron: Well, I was going to say, I mean, the rowing rosters are just huge. I mean, there's so many rowers. Obviously, the boats are smaller four or eight, but people are moving in and out to boats throughout the year, right? So, how do you keep those relationships going?

Aidan: Yeah. It's definitely kind of a challenge to really start to read people at a very quick pace. Especially leading into The Charles this year with our four, we were really changing around seats and who was going to be where up until about a little about over a week and a half before leading into Sunday. So, it was really important to me that once we kind of found that dynamic of people who were going to be the four, to really foster a close relationship. So, we would do a couple of little team bonding things here and there, trying to make sure that we were being really positive with each other and really supportive and inclusive. And I think it really showed that we were, we ended up becoming very close. We were actually driving back up last night from the race and talking about just how we've really enjoyed becoming kind of really close friends over the past week and a half.

Aidan: So, I think that's been something that's really important to me is to really foster that relationship and kind of, since I'm driving the boat, to really lead that experience as well off the water as well.

Aaron: And then the atmosphere at The Charles, I mean, I've heard stories about how many people are just on the river. So people at this event, because there's so many races. What's that experience like? I mean, are you aware of the crowds kind of, or you're zoned in?

Aidan: Well, even just as far as other boats on the water too, the event that we were in had 40... I want to say maybe a little... 42 boats in the event. So, just that itself was a huge, a number of people who were all getting ready to go into this one race together. But then, as far as the crowds on the shore, it's crazy, because whatever bridge you cross under, you just hear this massive screaming like, "Go Bates," like, "Yeah." And it's really this exhilarating rush. But then at the same time, my job as we do that is to really focus the boat in to block all of that sound out. But, it's really nice that a lot of the city of Boston comes down to support the event. There were so many alumni. I can't even count how many alumni were there, both during my... alumni of my time here at Bates, and then even as far back as 10, 15 years ago, who come out every year to support us. And so, we really appreciate that confidence boost and getting to see all the Bates colors as we come under the bridges. And to hear that is a big boost of confidence.

Aidan: One of my favorite calls that I made last year during the race, and I made it again this year is that, "They're cheering for you boys. This is your time." And I think that's really true. So, it's great.

Aaron: Nice. So growing up, did you play other sports? And then, what made you want to come to Bates? Obviously, you weren't coming to be on the rowing team, you ended up on the rowing team. What kind of prompted the college decision to come up here?

Aidan: Yeah. So, in high school I did running a little bit. So, I did cross country and track in high school. It wasn't something I was looking to really continue into college. But then, as far as how I heard about Bates, there were a couple of different avenues I had heard about it from, but the main one was I had had a professor in high school who was an alumni. I want to say he was an '02 alumni, and he spoke very highly of his time here. He was a skier here on campus. So, he talked to me about a little bit about what it was like to be an athlete here on campus, but just overall kind of what the Bates student was going to be like. And I think that was something that was really appealing to me. And I came and visited a couple times throughout my college visits, and every time I was here I always felt really welcomed.

Aidan: I always talk about, I came during homecoming, or back to Bates weekend my senior year, and I sat in the bleachers to watch the game, and just how included I felt and my whole family felt too just by the whole crowds here, and I think that was a big part of my decision making to come here to Bates.

Aaron: Awesome. Any other thoughts on this past Sunday there at The Charles?

Aidan: Yeah. This past Sunday, it was an absolutely crazy day. I'm so proud of all the boats that raced. I think we all had really strong showings, both on the men's side and on the women's side. Obviously the women did absolutely amazing yesterday, and I'm so proud to get to race next to them and practice next to them every day. And then as well as the men's varsity eight, they're a very strong showing too. So, I think we all should be very proud of what we did. I mean, it's always an honor to get to be part of this team and to get to race with all these other boats, because I think it really shows how hard we work and how much we really care about what we do.

Aaron: The cross country teams competed at the Oberlin Inter-Regional Rumble on Saturday, with the women taking second place out of 32 teams, out-racing ranked opponents John Carroll, Baldwin Wallace and Case Western, among others. Senior captain Olivia LaMarche placed 10th among 283 runners.

Olivia: It was exciting to get out of region and beat some ranked teams. Because it shows that even though we might not be top in our region, we're still really strong runners and strong competitors. We happen to be in a really strong region, so getting out of that is cool to see what we can do and how strong we are.

Aaron: What's it like being one of the leaders this year as a senior, helping some talented first-years and sophomores adjust to the team dynamic and whatnot?

Olivia: It's exciting. I mean, I've seen a lot of people before me that were amazing leaders, and it kind of never seemed like I would get to this point that I'm now the senior. And we have a really young team this year. So, it's definitely been... We've had a lot of great energy coming into a lot of the meets, just because a lot of our team is young and this is a lot of the times it's new for them. This weekend was for a lot of them was the first 6K. It's exciting for me to be able to see how competitive such a young team can be, and as a senior, kind of help try to guide them along the way.

Aaron: So yeah, your first few races of the year, every year, are 5Ks, you work up to 6K. Do you like that, or do you just want to go right away to 6K?

Olivia: I guess I like that. It kind of gives you a chance to get your legs under you and get back into it. I definitely do better at the 6Ks, and I actually like 6Ks better. So, I think maybe I could do with a few less 5Ks earlier on in the season, but I think it's beneficial to not just jump right into a 6K and have those first few races that aren't maybe as competitive with as many competitors to get back into it and get back into the competitive mindset.

Aaron: Certainly. And then, what was the course at Oberlin like?

Olivia: Flat! It was so flat. I have never seen a flatter course.

Aaron: And how does that change things? You always train at Pineland, which is known for being hilly.

Olivia: Yeah. So, I always think that one of our strengths is hills as a team, because we train at Pineland. We know the hills. That is something that doesn't scare us. We know we can get out there, we pass girls in the hills. So, I was a little nervous going into Oberlin, just because it was so flat, and that isn't something we typically train. So, it was definitely faster race than we're used to. We got off the line a lot faster than usual, and through the first mile was definitely fast. And I think that shocked me a little bit as we were going through the first mile, and I was like, "Oh-oh, I hope I can keep going." But, we ended up doing really well. So, it was exciting to see that we can do both hilly courses and flat courses.

Aaron: Well, I was talking to Bart Rust on the men's team, and he said it basically felt like a track meet almost.

Olivia: It really did. I mean, I'm used to running the 5K and the 10K on the track.

Aaron: Yeah.

Olivia: And one of the things I like about cross country is that there's that variety, but this really almost felt like you were running a track meet, because it was just how fast can I go and how long can I sustain that pace without worrying more about pacing with hills and things like that.

Aaron: So, I know Jill Richardson, her first year has been one the top runners this year along with you. Do you typically run with her, or how does that typically work?

Olivia: Yeah. We've typically been running together, which is really nice, because it makes it a lot better to run with a buddy. Because, she'll pull me forward, I'll pull her forward. And yeah, we usually try to stay with each other as long as we can. And then, on that day, whoever is feeling best might pull ahead. But, it is great to have that person to run with.

Aaron: So, as a senior, what are you majoring here at Bates?

Olivia: I'm an environmental studies major. Through high school, I've always been interested in the environment. And I was part of an environmental club in my high school. And so, when I was looking for schools, I looked for schools that I knew had a strong environmental studies program and a strong culture around sustainability. And I definitely found that in Bates. And so, I kind of knew right away I was going to be an environmental studies major.

Aaron: So, any other thoughts on this past weekend to help prepare you for NESCACs and New England's coming up?

Olivia: Yeah. I think it just kind of can give us a little bit more confidence going into NESCAC and regionals, that we are a very deep team. And when we run together, we can run our best. So, I think it's just exciting. I'm really excited to see where we can go in NESCAC. I think the race in Ohio was a stepping stone to help us build as a team and help people kind of find the people that they're going to be running with. And I think now that we have that and we have that behind us, it'll be cool to see what we can do NESCAC and regionals.

Aaron: All right. Olivia LaMarche, thanks so much.

Olivia: Thank you.

Aaron: The No. 17 nationally ranked Bates men’s cross country team finished fifth out of 39 schools at Oberlin, out-racing ranked teams John Carroll and Trine. Sophomore Bart Rust led the Bobcats with an 11th-place finish out of 339 runners overall and he is our Male Bobcat of the Week!

Aaron: Strong performance, top to bottom. You happen to lead the way, but seems like everyone was pretty close together throughout the entire race.

Bart: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. I knew they were there. We all got out well. Just sort of tried to hang with the front pack as long as I could. I knew my teammates were with me. Right behind me, I could kind of feel their energy through the first half of the race, and that's when it starts to get really fun. And you just got to keep working and grinding to get through. It was a lot of fun. Just that front pack started moving and I just knew that you got to hang on and keep going and we'll run something fast, and hopefully the team of scores will sort of sort themselves out, pretty much did.

Aaron: Yeah.

Bart: Yeah. I mean, obviously could have been faster. It could have been even further up, but it's a good place to start the first fast course of the year.

Aaron: So, then, well, tell me a little bit about the course in general, kind of the conditions there. It's obviously one you haven't raced before I'm sure.

Bart: Yeah. We haven't, aside from nationals last fall, it's the farthest we've been from campus in a while. Yeah. And then, it's completely flat. Made Bowdoin, which is already a pretty flat course, look hilly.

Bart: Perfect weather. I think at the start it was like 50 degrees and sunny, dry. Just good conditions, grassy, and a little bit of dirt and wood chips on the back trails. But, it was good, fast, course for sure. It was kind of more like a track meet than a cross country race. Yeah.

Aaron: Interesting. And so, for you, I mean, you're a sophomore, but last year you made an immediate impact as a first-year. What have you been working on from last year to this year to continue to improve in cross country?

Bart: Mainly just, I've upped my mileage a little bit, just getting stronger, just trying to... The more time I can spend out there, the more strength I can get my legs. I'm faster. I haven't really worried about a whole lot of speed work recently. Cross country was fun last season, but I think kind of track season was sort of when I really started to get it and understand what I need to do to make myself better. A combination of stretching, mobility stuff and then just doing the workouts the best they can. And just making sure all my runs, I'm doing what I need to be doing. And I think that's true for most of the team too, is everyone's been really good this year, but doing what they need to do to make sure we stay healthy, make sure we stay competitive and make sure we keep improving race to race or season to season hopefully.

Aaron: You touched on track. Because, it's always interesting, because also you got the cross country team, then you have track and field season, which the team gets much bigger, because a lot of other people come in or they're sprinters or throwers or whatnot. But, you cross country guys probably still have a pretty tight bond during track season as well, right?

Bart: Yeah for sure. So, the cross country team basically becomes the mid distance, distance side of it. So, we're all still doing pretty much the same thing. But instead of going to Pineland or a golf course for our workouts, we're just on the track doing similarly distanced reps and stuff like that. But yeah, it's pretty much the same. Fresh doesn't want to risk any of us lifting something heavy and trying to throw it.

Aaron: Sure.

Bart: So, we just stick to the running in the spring.

Aaron: Certainly. And then, the team, it just seems like there's so much depth. Tell me about some of your teammates and what you've noticed from them. You have Justin Levine, you have these other guys who've been doing this for a little while and it seems like everyone's fairly even.

Bart: Yeah. No, it's certainly a lot of fun. It makes it a lot easier when you've got a nice pack at the front to really work well with. Workouts have been really good. We've got this belief in each other and trust in each other. When we find each other on the course, we're working together, we're bringing each other along and just making sure that, as much as we can, we're helping ourselves and helping our teammates in doing that. So, it's been a lot of fun. Justin's been killing it. Both our captains have been killing it. Ryan Nealis, traditionally more of a track guy, more of a 800, miler kinda kind of type, but he's really stepped up for cross this year. He was alternate for nationals last year and now he's showing what he can do. Tucker Barber is always sneaky fast. He's just out of nowhere. He'll just show up in a race and go, "Oh, that's right." Tucker's an animal.

Bart: And then, we got the other sophomores. Everyone's been improving a lot. There were four of us on the trip to Ohio, myself, Nic Stathos, Jackson Donahue and Henry Raff. And, I mean, Raff was our six, I think, and Donahue was our seven and Raff was our eight. So, we've got got a good group in the class of '22. Hopefully, keep moving them up. And then we've got some scary freshmen too who are really helping out too. Eli Boesch-Dining stayed with me. He was my recruit. So, I'm going to take a little bit of the credit-

Aaron: He mentioned that.

Bart: Yeah. No, he's been absolutely killing it this year. I mean, we sort of knew when he, like last spring, when he started... when he was running track, we were all like, "He's going to be okay. He's going to do what he needs to do and he's going to run fast." And he certainly has. And really all of the freshmen that have come in have been working so hard and just like any other... They're all tremendous additions to our team. They've been so good about just buying into or trying to... buying into what we're trying to build and working hard every day and showing up when they need to.

Aaron: What was it like seeing this basically brand new competition this past week? I mean, teams you had not seen before, at least this year. You might've seen them at nationals last year. I don't know.

Bart: Yeah. Well, my recollection of nationals is a little bit hazy, because I was like, "Oh boy, this is definitely harder than I thought it would be." I remember I got about halfway and I was like, "Okay, this is very fast. All of the teams are going that way, and I feel like I'm going," well, maybe not backwards, but maybe not moving relative to them. But yeah, no, it was really good to get out of region and see some people other than like Colby and Bowdoin and those guys, because we see them every weekend.

Aaron: Right.

Bart: Yeah, it was good. We got a good look at Barea, or Berea. I'm not quite sure how to say it, but they're the number one team in the south region, and they sort of proved why. They look really good. Really all the teams that were, almost all the teams that were there looked really strong. And it's just a good experience. Even though they are not competing in our regional meet, it's sort of parallel to what we're going to have to do in about a month at regionals, is go out and run against teams that can run that fast and we'll run that fast. So, it's, again, just a good starting point end of the regular season, I guess for us kind of post-season starts with NESCACs. Yeah.

Aaron: I was going to say, because NESCACs are important obviously.

Bart: Yeah.

Aaron: But, really the meet after NESCACs, New England regionals... How do you kind of approach NESCAC knowing you have an even bigger meet following after that?

Bart: So, NESCACs, I mean, obviously you want to beat all the other NASCAC teams.

Aaron: Yeah.

Bart: NESCACs, for us is usually, it's sort of like a pre-regional kind of, because the... not the only other team that's showing up, but the only usual contender that'll be shown up for regional is like MIT. So, it's basically just NESCAC and MIT. I feel like we usually think of it as NESCAC and MIT for those top 10 spots in New England. So, it's a really good chance to see sort of what regionals is going to look like at regional time. Because, we will run against Middlebury and Tufts early in the season. But that doesn't mean a whole lot, because when you run against them in September, there's still two months of building everyone's doing to get to where they need to be for regionals.

Bart: So, yeah, NESCACs will be fun. You want to brag. Everyone wants the bragging rights. Everyone wants to be as many people as you can. It won't be easy, but it'll be... It'll definitely be a tough course, tough competition. So, we'll just, "Okay. Let's see what happens. Do we know we can do, and I think we'll be okay." And then as for regionals, I mean, that's when we really got to buckle down and run another fast time. Like I said earlier, Bowdoin's a very flat course, not quite Oberlin flat, but it's fast. Last year it was really fast. Just about everyone PR'd who was running at regionals in Bowdoin, it's just a completely flat... not quite completely flat. You have to run up and over their javelin runway. But that's about it. But yeah, no, it's just, again, just another just step along the way in trying to get back to nationals and running against competition that's going to be, that we're going to have to keep facing over and over again.

Aaron: All right. Bart Rust, male Bobcat of the week. Thanks so much.

Bart: Thanks for having me.

Aaron: The golf teams competed at the New England Intercollegiate Golf Association Championships on Sunday and Monday. Led by junior Preston Haugh and senior captain Andrew Garcia-Bou, the men placed 13th out of 22 schools.

Aaron: Meanwhile, the women took first out of four schools, out-shooting runner-up Husson by two strokes. Junior captain Brittany Seipp and junior Ellie Murphy led the Bobcats over the course of two days, with Murphy shooting a team-best 93 on Monday.

Ellie: This was our first time playing here. It was Cape Cod, so obviously very nice. The conditions the first day were pretty good. It was nice and sunny, nothing too bad. The one thing I will say about the courses that it was pretty long, and all of the coaches agreed that it was pretty long for the women's teams. I think it was about 5,700 yards on both 18 courses, because there was two different 18 hole courses that we played.

Ellie: So, yeah. So, it was a pretty big golf course, definitely long, so harder for those of us who aren't big hitters like myself. Yeah. So, that's where a lot of the challenge came in was just distance-wise. Greens were challenging, hard to read. Most of the time you would expect break and not get any. And so, that was kind of difficult to navigate. But with the help of coach, you could eventually figure it out and just kind of do your thing.

Aaron: You mentioned, so you played one course one day and a really different course the next?

Ellie: So, they have two courses from what I understand, there's Port and Starboard, or something like that. So, the first day I think we played the Port course, or it might be the opposite. But, we played one during our practice round, so I knew that one pretty well and the rest of the team knew it pretty well. But the first day that we played, we played the course that we hadn't practiced on first, so that was kind of a surprise. But yeah, they were pretty similar in terms of a whole structure, all that sort of stuff.

Aaron: Yeah. So the first day concludes, you're tied with Husson for first at that point. What's going through your mind the next day knowing you have a chance to win this thing as a team?

Ellie: It was honestly really exciting. We went into it expecting that we could at least be neck and neck with Husson given our previous tournaments this season. So, it was really exciting to know that we were tied, and that if we put in the effort, we could potentially win the next day. So, it was just like a lot of really good energy on the team, excited to get back out on the course and show them what we had in store.

Aaron: So on Monday, how did you find out at the end that you'd won? 

Ellie: Oh, that was actually kind of a fun story. They have live results. This was the first time I'd ever seen it. So, someone out on the course had a phone and was typing in scores live. But, the calculator I guess somehow messed up and we had thought that we had lost to Husson by one stroke. So, the whole team was a little disappointed, but they told us to wait and stay for the awards ceremony. And then, we went into it thinking that we were going to get a nice second place plaque. And then, we walked in and they said that we had come in first place by two strokes, and that was the most exciting moment I think for all of us. We were all really surprised, really excited that the work had paid off and that things worked out for us.

Aaron: Yeah. It seems like this year actually coach Fall, his first year as a head coach, what has his impact been on the women's golf program?

Ellie: This year, it's been really nice having coach Fall and also John, who our assistant coach, help us just in terms of swing dynamics and putting advice. I remember there was one practice this season where coach was with me for like an hour and a half just working on putting. So, that one on one time was extremely helpful for courses like this. So, it's been nice having a coach who knows what he's doing and who is really helpful in terms of providing advice and moral support when we're out on the course. Yeah. You'll see him walking around in-between holes, and it's just nice to wave to coach if you need help and he'll come over, that sort of stuff.

Aaron: Nice. So, who were you playing with each of these days?

Ellie: So, we play with a girl from each team. I played with the same girl from Husson both days, who I know from a bunch of other tournaments. So, it's kind of nice. We're all friends. And then, we played with girls from Suffolk and J-Woo.

Aaron: Nice. And then, so coach Fall's kind of roaming around, kind of finding different players and whatnot?

Ellie: Yeah. And then, he hangs around the tougher holes and kind of provides advice for tee shots, where to aim, where you want to be on the green, how to read the green. It's nice getting that second opinion.

Aaron: Yeah. Well, putting in particular, I mean, I know as someone who has golfed a few times, can be kind of frustrating, right?

Ellie: Yeah. Putting is definitely pretty frustrating. Yeah. The first day of putting was challenging, I think for almost the entire team, including the men's team. That was something that we had all agreed on. So, that was something that I took with me into the second day, was making sure that I was taking an extra minute just to read the put, read the distance, all that sort of stuff, to make sure that I was at least getting it close enough to make it into.

Aaron: Certainly. And then obviously, this is the last tournament of the fall, I know there's going to be some stuff in the spring and you're excited for your teammate Chloe, they're going to NESCAC, right?

Ellie: I'm so proud of Chloe. I'm so excited for her. I think that's the first time that anyone from the women's team has qualified, and I think that's so cool. Yeah. I think we're going to try and do stuff this spring as well. I'm not really sure what we have in store yet. I think it's still being planned, but definitely something is going to happen. I actually won't be here. I'll be abroad.

Aaron: Oh, you're going to be abroad. Okay.

Ellie: Yeah. But, I know the team. I think I'm the only one from the women's team who's going abroad, so they'll definitely have a good time. I'm going to definitely miss out on being with them.

Aaron: Where are you going abroad?

Ellie: I'm going to Paris.

Aaron: How much chance to golf there in France?

Ellie: I mean, I would love to. I think that would be so cool. I'm trying to go to Ireland and England at least as a visit. So, I'll bring my golf clubs with me, see if I can play over there.

Aaron: Yeah. In Europe, I know they have those... those links courses are a little different I think.

Ellie: Oh yeah. My dad's coming over too, so I'm sure we'll go out and play.

Aaron: Nice. So, what are you studying here at Bates?

Ellie: I'm a biochemistry and French double major. I'm still figuring out what I want to do, but I definitely am interested in both science and language. So, we'll see if I can combine those somehow.

Aaron: Excellent. What are your thoughts on the weekend and bringing home that tournament title for the team?

Ellie: I'm just really proud of us. I think, since my freshman year, we've come a long way. I think the team has, well, the team itself has grown a lot for the women. And I love that we have so many first-years on the team, and I really enjoy like the team dynamics between both the women's team and the men's team. It was just a fun weekend getting to be with the other teammates and being in such a nice area and playing a really nice golf course and good weather. It's just really enjoyable. I just love being out there and having a good time.

Aaron: The field hockey, women’s soccer and men’s soccer teams fell at Williams over the weekend. All three squads return home for their respective Senior Days this Saturday against Amherst. Meanwhile the volleyball team went 3-1 over the weekend at the Hall of Fame Tournament. Bates is 14-7 on the year and senior day is this Saturday when Bates hosts Trinity at 2pm. Sophomore Sydney Phillips leads the Bobcats on the attack, averaging 2.39 kills per set. 

Aaron: Sydney so far this year, your tops on the team in kills per set. You've playing a lot more now as a sophomore. What's that experience been like giving you a lot more time on the court?

Sydney: Well, I think the big change was switching from outside to right side. I feel like it's just a better fit for me. And I've been doing a lot of work with Julia in individuals and in practice, just really working on getting the consistency that I need to be hitting at.

Aaron: Interesting. So volleyball-wise, for people who don't know, outside hitter versus right side, similarities, differences?

Sydney: Well they're both the pin positions. So, they're fairly similar, except that on the right side, it's a little bit of a quicker set. And, I guess, also usually on the outside you have to get more of the out of system sets, so they might be a little less consistent than they are on the right side.

Aaron: Got you. And you mentioned working with Julia a lot. What was that like in practice and everything?

Sydney: It's great. I really look up to her a lot. She's very confident and always makes sure to have her energy up and really to encourage everybody else on the team.

Aaron: With the team as a whole, three wins and out of four matches over the weekend, what was the real points of emphasis from coach in these non-conference matches to prepare for some big NESCAC ones coming up?

Sydney: I think the big thing that we focused on was just working on our side of the court, just making sure we keep our number of errors down. Because, really you are playing another team, but it's also all about like what's going on your side.

Aaron: And then Senior Day coming up, you're obviously a sophomore, but you obviously want to win for the seniors against Trinity. What's it like playing at home, at Alumni Gym and how excited are you to hopefully send the seniors off with a victory?

Sydney: It's definitely going to be an emotional day. I'm really looking forward to it. I just want to put all my effort into making it the best Senior Day for our seniors. I really love all of them and I just want to send them off on like a great note.

Aaron: And what's the season been like so far? Because, you had the 8-0 start to the year, some heartbreaking NESCAC matches, right? But I mean, it seems like the team in general continues to improve each season.

Sydney: I think just as the season goes on, we're all getting more comfortable playing with each other. And we're just working out some of the kinks that always come about at the beginning of the season.

Aaron: I was talking with Delaney Mayfield about how those five-setters, the fifth set can be tricky, right? Because, it's a shorter set, you have less time. What are you learning from playing some of those five setters this year in terms of how to handle that fifth set?

Sydney: Well, we talked a lot about not valuing the points at the end more than the ones at the beginning. You need to work hard for every point. And in order to take away some of the intimidation of the 15 point game, we've been doing a lot more doubles and fours in practice where we played to 15 points.

Aaron: Academically, so you're a sophomore now, have you decided on a major or anything like that?

Sydney: Yeah, I'm planning on declaring in biology soon. I've always just been interested in science, and I hope to go pre-med one day. I just find biology super interesting, just like the world around us.

Aaron: Any classes in particular stuck out for you so far?

Sydney: I just really enjoyed cellular and molecular biology. I just think everything we've learned so far is really interesting, and I'm excited to keep learning more.

Aaron: Excellent. What are your thoughts on the season so far and how it's gone for the team?

Sydney: I think it's been a great season. Obviously, we want to do better at the five set matches, but we've really been putting in work and I think it's been showing.

Aaron: All right, Sydney Phillips, thanks so much.

Sydney: Thank you.

Aaron: Last week we wrapped up the men’s tennis fall season with senior Jacob Eisenberg. This week we wrap up the women’s tennis fall season with junior Haley Washington. The Bates women defeated NCAA Division II opponent Franklin Pierce 8-1, and Washington won at No. 3 doubles and No. 4 singles.

Aaron: Haley, Division II school Franklin Pierce, a couple of weeks back coming in there to Wallach tennis center and the Bobcats, both the women and the men, emerged victorious. It must be a pretty good confidence booster to beat a Division II program like that, right?

Haley: Yeah. I definitely think it was. I think it actually had a lot to do with our aspect throughout the fall. We've been really kind of trying to instill this fearless mentality, just kind of going out there and trusting your strokes and trusting the type of player that you are. And we actually, before the Franklin Pierce match, had two days of the Bowdoin invitational. So, we were playing two days before that. And I think playing a lot of those matches just helped us mentally get into the mode that we needed to be in for this match.

Haley: And then, also it was as a dual match, the men were playing also as well. And I think, so it was very loud environment. The crowd there was our home crowd. I think that helped a lot with our wins that we had.

Aaron: Certainly. And for you personally, doubles and singles, how did that go? What adjustments do you make when you go from one to the other?

Haley: Well, going from singles and doubles, I think the difference is having somebody with you on the court. I think that when you're with somebody it's a little bit easier, because you're not just not... you don't have to just fight yourself. You get someone else to depend on to help kind of boost you when you get in a little tiff or whatever. I think that's a lot of it for me personally. So, going from doubles, I think we had... Mentally, I think it was a tough match, because usually when you're playing against somebody that's... They were mentally strong obviously. And I think sometimes girls try to be intimidating just physically and just mentally and then or whatever. So, I think that was part of it.

Haley: And then transitioning to singles, I think... I love singles. I like playing by myself. I like the fight. I like the, everything. I think it was just keeping the momentum going. Everybody was battling very well. I was playing next to Lauren Hernandez, who's a senior this year. We played together, my freshman year we played court by court together. So, I think it's always good when you have people cheering. But, it's mostly yourself out there. So, you're just you and you're just trying to mentally find your opponent, but you're also just trying to stay strong.

Aaron: I'm curious, you mentioned the Bowdoin invitational, right?

Haley: Yes.

Aaron: So, that's obviously more of a tournament format or round robin or whatever you want to call it. A lot of the fall is like that, right? Whether it be the Middlebury Invitational or the Wallach or whatnot. So, what's that like compared to the spring? How do you approach fall versus spring?

Haley: I think part of the fall is definitely getting a feel for, it's a lot of doubles. So, I think a lot of it is trying to figure out who you play best with and just the situation through that. And I think a lot of it is also getting the freshmen prepared for the spring season. Because, like you said, we have a lot of invitationals where... so, it's a lot of doubles matches. Wallach is just doubles. Bowdoin was singles and doubles. So, that compared to the spring season, there's a lot more NESCAC matches in the fall that are applied to our overall score. This fall also apply, but it's, I think it's just a matter of just kind of transitioning into the spring season, especially for the freshmen that are coming in.

Aaron: What's your approach during these winter months where you don't have any matches?

Haley: These winter months, we have... I actually have practice today at 6:30. We call it investment season. So, it's definitely, for me personally, my goals are just going to be to keep up tennis and just try to balance that and school. But, a lot of it and what we're working towards is just like, investing in yourself so you can be able to help the team grow and help yourself grow. So, if that includes our salsa workouts. We work with closely with Mike, salsa training, it's off court. So, we're doing a lot of those. And then, just endurance training. And then, also just like getting repeats of the ball and getting a lot of hits in.

Aaron: Certainly. Well, tell me a little bit about your background. You grew up in Michigan. How did you start playing tennis, and when you decided you wanted to come to Bates specifically for college.

Haley: Yes. I'm from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, which is about 14 hours away from Bates. It's pretty far. I started playing tennis I think in sixth grade, which is actually really late for tennis. A lot of people start when they're like two and whatever. And I actually was dabbling around with a couple of sports, track and volleyball, then I started to narrow it down. I really started to fall in love with the game. And then, I actually have a friend who's at Tufts. She plays for the Tufts team. So, I started looking into the NESCAC, and I did my visit at Bates with coach Gastonguay and coach Woods and I fell in love. I think when you do college visits, I think that's super important, because I think when you find the right college for you, it kind of just feels like home. And that's what it was for me. And I love it. I love it here.

Aaron: Excellent. And so, you mentioned that you knew about the NESCAC because of your friend at Tufts, right?

Haley: Yeah.

Aaron: And so, what were some reasons why Bates maybe stood out to kind of other schools?

Haley: I think that a lot of it was the welcoming environment. For me personally, coming from Michigan, I got really homesick my freshman year. And I think that the people here are just very, compared to the Midwest, the people on the East Coast just in general, are just a lot more welcoming, especially the people in Maine. They're super nice, they're super happy all the time. And a lot of it had to do with the environment for sure. Everyone here is super welcoming.

Aaron: Great. And then, sort of women's tennis team specifically, it seems like there's been a lot of growth these past few years. What have you noticed now as a junior?

Haley: As a junior, I think that coming from my freshman year, I think that everybody just started to just zone in on their game a little bit more. I think a lot of people invested a lot over the summer, and I think you can see that, especially this fall. I mean, we came out and we beat Franklin Pierce. I think it was 8-1. Yeah, 8-1. We beat them 8-1. I think everybody's just determined. We want to make it to NESCACs this year. So, they changed the rules. It usually used to be six teams for women's tennis, or for tennis overall, and now they've changed it to eight. Because we're usually like the seventh team, which kind of sucks, and we're right on the cutout.

Aaron: Yeah.

Haley: But, no. So, I think that's the big goal that we're working towards. I think everybody, especially... me included, putting a lot of hours over the summer so we can come in and be ready for the fall season. We're going to kick some butt.

Aaron: All right, terrific. And obviously, in the fall you have some people who are abroad and whatnot, right? I think Hannah Sweeney is abroad.

Haley: Hannah Sweeney, yes.

Aaron: So, the team gets to really see people playing at a higher level they normally would, right?

Haley: Yes. Hannah Sweeney is abroad for the women's tennis and Owen Greenwood is abroad for men's tennis. And, I think she's in Italy. She's in Italy, I think. Florence, she's in Florence. Yes. She's in Florence. And, Owen's in Beijing. And yeah, we definitely miss her. She's my fellow junior. I miss her a lot. She's my partner in crime, especially Owen as well. But yeah, no, I think that... I don't know. I think not having them here is definitely super, super weird, but I think that they're also over there training too. So when we come back, we're just going to be a powerful, powerful team here.

Aaron: Excellent. And then, coach Gastonguay, you touched on what he brings to the table. He's a Bates alumni himself, had a lot of success here. What's it like having him as a head coach?

Haley: I think that I really enjoy having him, and we have him as our head coach and Sam Woods is our assistant coach. I really enjoy it. I think that he offers, when he gives you advice, he's very much like a tennis dad. That's the figure that he is. And I love training with him, I like working with him personally. Whenever I'm struggling with something, we can always go to him. We can always ask him, and he'll tell you right what it is. And we'll drill it out and we'll work on it until we feel we're comfortable as well. And then, I also enjoy working with Woods. He is also an alumni. And it's also fun to just talk to him and... because he went to Bates a couple of years... not a couple of years ago. A little while ago. And it's nice to just talk about tennis and also just like life. Not only are they good tennis role models, but also just life role models as well.

Aaron: Academically. What are you studying here at Bates?

Haley: Well, I'm a bio-chem major. I'm pre-med. I'm looking to go to medical school and pursue my career in dermatology, which is skin for people that aren't aware. But yeah, I like it a lot. I'm currently in biochem with Glen Lawson. That's a fun time. I'm just really interested in science id say. I think it's really interesting how the body works and just going down to those genetics and those chromosomes and everything.

Aaron: That's what you have been interested in for a long time then?

Haley: Yes, I have. I've worked closely with kids over the past couple years of my life here, but the past two years I've been working at a forensic science camp. So, that's super cool, because I get to apply... I get to work with kids and also apply stuff with science. I prepare stuff for the camp a week before and everything, which is like, I get to apply to that to what I'm learning. For example, gel electrophoresis, which is a way that you can examine DNA. I made the gels for the camp. So, then I did that in lab last week for biochem. I'm like, "Oh, I remember when I made this this summer. This is overlapping here." So yeah, it's definitely super fun.

Aaron: Awesome. What are your thoughts on the fall season, and what are you most looking forward to come spring time?

Haley: I think I'm really excited. I think we have a great, great... we're going to have a great year I think. I think that everybody is really invested and playing well and just giving it their all. I think we had a great fall season. And, tennis is kind of weird. We don't have an off-season, but that's fine, because everybody's ready. Everybody's dedicated to give their best. Like, we have practice today. I'm ready to get after it. It feels a little weird. We haven't really played a little bit over this week. We haven't been here, but no, I think it's going to be great. I really think there's going to be great things to come from both women and men's tennis this year. 

Aaron: It’s time for the fifth quarter on the Bobcast with Bates head football coach Malik Hall. The Bobcats fell at Williams on Saturday by a final score of 35-7. Junior quarterback Brendan Costa tallied a rushing touchdown and a pair of young receivers had career days. Coach Hall breaks down the game.

Aaron: You got to be encouraged by some of your young receivers. Mohamed Diawara had a pretty big game, four catches, nearly a hundred yards. Christian Olivieri had a couple of catches from the big games. What are you seeing from them, from their development, these young guys who are getting some significant playing time?

Malik: Big picture, we're a young team still. I think, if you look at our sophomores and first-years who are taking on a major, major role, traditionally you're used to seeing juniors or seniors play those roles. And with that, you got to grow up fast. Olivieri being a second year player who week in week out gets something that's been big and been good for us. And then, Diawara, who came along real hot in the first game and peeked a lot of people's eyes up like, "Wait a minute. we may have to cover this guy." And so, he takes a while to get used to getting a little extra attention. In your first year, you don't expect people to give you that much intention. And then, how to internalize that. Do you go in the jar? "I'm not getting open. I'm not getting any passes, any targets." And finally, you keep working, keep working. He almost had 100 yards and a touchdown.

Malik: But, all of that is growth in our offense. You can see some really good flashes of what we want to be. But then, you got to look at it like, "Man, why we can't be consistent at it?" Right now I attribute that right now to our youth. We're still a young team. The good news is those guys are getting experience. The bad news is they're getting experience without any definitive victories, right? And so, there's only so many moral victories you can take, and there's only so many losses you can handle before you start questioning whether you can do it or not.

Malik: My job as the head coach is to kind of keep them locked in and give them perspective on what they're doing well and where margin of error is presenting itself. Jackson Hayes, he has a big catch that as he's fumbling it before he falls, it ends up in the defender's hands. Well, the margin of error popped up, because he had to double catch it. If he catches it when it first hits his hands, there's no room for the defensive guy to make a play. And therefore, there is no margin of error. Margin of error happens when we don't take care of that initial opportunity.

Malik: And so when you add into that, Costa I thought play very confident. I thought he was very smart. I thought Williams did a great job in understanding that he could get loose with his feet. But what I was in estatic to see and proud of more importantly, is that it wasn't breaking the pocket just to run, it was breaking a pocket to look for a receiver. I think that was growth, that was progress. But we're still in the process of trying to create victories.

Aaron: Well, you touched on the fact that you guys did move the ball, and this red zone was the difference in this game. I mean, what comes down to it.

Malik: I think, if you can get the ball in the red zone five times, you would hope that you can be five touchdowns, walk away with five touchdowns. Be that as it may, we didn't. And unfortunately, Williams I think was only in the red zone three times. And so, out of the six touchdowns, it says that we're giving it up fast. It's not a drive. Although, I will say, the first offensive drive Williams 99 yards, 14 plays. Hats off. Everything that they did, they did well. And when we had the opportunity to sack them, pick the ball, or get a TFL, we missed. And so, when you have a team that can go 14 plays and you do some things to take them off schedule and you don't make that play and they make the play, that's a blow to the gut, right?

Malik: And so, after that, I think we were playing chase after that. Because, when you get a blocked punt in the first series of the game and it's a touchdown, now you're down and your defense never touched the field. And then when we touched the field, it was off of us knocking the end zone on the one and they go from the one to the other end. But, that's a good team. And if you do not bring your focus and high level of competitive enthusiasm on top of it, to be excited to compete against a good team, those good teams, they're excited to compete. And I think that was where we lost the game. I think we get in our own heads, because something bad happens. And, that's a part of a learning curve. When you have a young team who has enough talent, they have to learn how to harness the bad, so they can continue to perform with the good.

Aaron: So, this week it starts the CBB series, which I know for you, you'd rather win the NESCAC every year if possible, but the CBB series does have a trophy involved. It's Colby, it's Bowdoin, it's Bates, there's a lot of history there. All these teams are hungry for a win, right? This is going to be some close games I imagine.

Malik: You would hope. I think just dealing with Colby as is, they're a tough team. They resemble us in effort quite a bit. They play extremely hard. I think they have a little more size than we may have, but I think we may be a little more athletic. Again, somebody has to win this weekend. Why not it be the Bates Bobcats. But, in terms of rivalry, rivalry is beautiful. I just had a conversation with one of the players, like, rivalries are good, because of the implications with it. The implications right now, this is a zero and zero team, so somebody can get their first win. The fact that it's a rival and it's in-state, that adds into the juice.

Malik: But I do have this stance is that, do you think Bill Belichik gets up more for a different opponent than another? And so, my thought is, look, we understand it's a rival. I love the opportunity to compete in-state, and I love bragging rights. But, I love bragging rights over everybody. But with that being said, rivalry is about tradition. Tradition is college football. The NFL was not as tradition based. And so, though I don't want to be remiss in confusing one for the other, but my thing is I expect our guys to compete, and they'll prepare for every opponent like it's a rival game.

Aaron: Yeah.

Malik: And which makes the NESCAC even more intriguing. It's everyone you play the same. Now the order may change, but you don't... everyone you get to play every year. And so, what makes this game a rival based on the tradition, you're not going to see Michigan and Wisconsin play every year. You know what I mean? But, with our teams, we'll go play every year. And so, it's funny, the natural rival in the state is Bowdoin. And I was telling our guys versus Amherst, "The way we've been playing Amherst, that's kind of turned into my personal rivalry I guess." Because, we keep letting that one get away. But all in all, rivalries are beautiful. Look, we don't prepare any different as a staff. Um, but we understand like, listen, the fan, the fan base, look, wants to win the CBB, wants to win the state title, period.

Malik: And more importantly than the state title, I want to win. And so, if you look at it, they are equally important to me. And I wanted it to be equally important to our guys. The moment you put a circumstance behind your effort, your effort is circumstantial. It only comes out for Colby-Bowdoin. I don't want that for our guys. But, I'm not by any means erasing what this means to our community.

Aaron: All right coach. Thanks so much, and good luck against Colby on Saturday.

Malik: Again, it's a great day to be a Bobcat. 

Aaron: Next time on the Bates Bobcast, we’ll recap big senior day NESCAC contests for soccer, field hockey and volleyball. Plus, the CBB series gets underway for football this Saturday at Colby and we preview the ‘Cats Carnival, a special event to coincide with the first night football game at Garcelon Field. All that and more, next time, on the Bates Bobcast!