Bates Bobcast Episode 160: Women's cross country's historic run
First-year Jill Richardson led the Bates women's cross country team to a program-best 14th place showing at the NCAA Championships. Plus, we chat with a pair of swimmers who helped the Bobcats sweep Wesleyan and Trinity. All that and more, on the Bates Bobcast!
Interviews this episode:
- 0:40 -- Jill Richardson '23, Women's Cross Country (Female Bobcat of the Week).
- 6:34 -- Tucker Barber '21, Men's Cross Country + Nordic Skiing (Male Bobcat of the Week).
- 12:20 -- Meghan Graff '22 and Jeff Spellman '20, Women's and Men's Basketball (Highlights + Interviews).
- 13:45 -- Ariana Dalia '22, Women's Basketball.
- 19:18 -- Abigail Gibbons '23, Women's Swimming.
- 26:54 -- Pieter Cory '22, Men's Swimming.
- 33:23 -- Tyler Sheikh, Head Coach, Men's Soccer (Season Recap).
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 recapping the best finish ever at the NCAA Championships for the women’s cross country team. Plus, the swimming and diving teams swept Wesleyan and Trinity over the weekend and the women’s basketball team continues to thrive at Alumni Gym. All that and more, coming up, on the Bates Bobcast!
Aaron: The cross country teams competed at the NCAA Championships in Louisville on Saturday and the Bates women finished 14th out of 32 schools, topping the 15th-place 1997 team for the best finish at NCAAs in program history. The Bobcats passed five teams in the scoring over the final 2 kilometers of the race, surging up from 19th place to grab 14th. First-year Jill Richardson led the way once again for Bates, placing 56th out of 280 runners. And she is our Female Bobcat of the Week!
Aaron: Well Jill I mean your first year running cross country at Bates, and the team has its best finish ever at nationals. What does that mean to you? I mean it must exceed your wildest expectations coming in?
Jill: Yeah. I just feel really lucky to have been able to be on that team, and we all just were so happy and surprised honestly. We just tried our best but didn't really know what to expect.
Aaron: What was the meet like?
Jill: It was a lot of fun. Definitely a lot of mud, a lot of rain. But we just were there to have a good time and give it our all.
Aaron: When it's that muddy and that rainy, what's that like as I wonder what adjustments do you have to make?
Jill: Well we put huge spikes in our shoes and kind of just braced ourselves, knew that it was going to be tough. We would have to work a little extra hard, but just gave it our best.
Aaron: And then I know that obviously at NCAAs, a lot going on, there's like a banquet, stuff like that.What was the whole experience like kind of making the trip?
Jill: Yeah, We got there a little bit early and explored, explored the downtown area and then went to the banquet, which was just really cool to see all the teams that are there and just to get ourselves excited.
Aaron: What was Louisville like?
Jill: It was really nice. We went downtown and saw some kind of big landmarks, so it was really fun.
Aaron: Have you ever been there before do you think?
Jill: I had not, no.
Aaron: Okay. Nice, nice. And so in general like I mean your first year, what were maybe your expectations coming in? Did you have any expectations coming in?
Jill: I guess I really didn't, I honestly didn't even know like kind of what you had to do to get to states and nationals and all that kind of thing. It's very different, I didn't really know like what competition I would have on other teams and yeah.
Aaron: You crossed the finish line first for the Bobcats and then Olivia came in right after you basically.
Aaron: I mean were you basically running with her the whole time?
Jill: Not so much that race, but I knew that I kept hearing coach Art cheering, so I knew that she was really close behind me, which was good to know.
Aaron: After you cross the finish line, is it recovery mode? Are you trying to watch right away your teammates coming in after?
Jill: Yeah, I feel like usually all of us kind of try and stay around and give each other hugs and tell each other good job that kind of thing.
Aaron: When did you learn that you'd finish... the team has finished so strongly in terms of 14th there in the country?
Jill: Yeah. I think we had all finished and we're just kind of waiting around, and then a couple of the girls came over and told me, and I was with my mom and dad so it was pretty exciting.
Aaron: Oh, Excellent. They got to make the trip?
Jill: Yes, they did.
Aaron: Nice. What was it like having them there?
Jill: It was a lot of fun. They hadn't been able to make it to Oberlin, but I was really happy that they could make it here so it was fun.
Aaron: The course in general, you mentioned the conditions. Were there any points in the course that are particularly tricky or was it pretty straight forward besides the mud?
Jill: Yeah, it was just kind of like a couple of small loops and then a big loop. It wasn't too difficult but yeah the mud definitely was very tricky.
Aaron: Going to track and field season, I mean that's a little different than cross country. What are your thoughts on indoor track and field coming up?
Jill: Yeah, I'm really excited for track just because it's very different than cross country, and we'll have a bunch of new teammates that I can meet and stuff, and I'm excited because we have... before in track I would do a lot of events. But this... I know in college you kind of focus more on like one sort of fewer events so that will be fun.
Aaron: Any event in particular you're looking to focus on or is that to be determined?
Jill: I'm definitely going to talk to the coaches. I do love the mile though.
Aaron: In high school you ran for Edward Little, what was track season like there? You mentioned cross country, you were running with the boys team basically, right?
Jill: Yeah. Track was... Again, I had a lot of different coaches for that, but actually for indoor track we would come to the Bates indoor track to practice a couple of times a week, which is kind of funny that I'm going to be at the indoor track again.
Jill: But yeah we definitely had more kids come out for like outdoor track than indoor.
Aaron: And then in the track season they've already started practicing and stuff. And have you been able to... I mean because you've been focused on cross country, so have you done any track activities at all yet or?
Jill: We have like a team meetings on Monday so I've met some of the track girls, and then we actually did a couple track workouts. We didn't do them like with the rest of the team, but just cause it was so cold, Kind of been in that environment a little bit.
Aaron: Definitely. And then you mentioned you're used to training at Bates in the indoor track, what is that like going back there? I mean it's not... probably won't be that much of an adjustment maybe even compared to cross country.
Jill: Yeah, it's definitely... it was kind of nostalgic honestly. I was thinking about all the workouts I'd done in there, but it's definitely different being with different team members and different coaches.
Aaron: What are your thoughts on the cross country season, and what it means to you to be part of the team that finished the best ever for the program there?
Jill: Yeah, I was just... we were all so surprised, so happy and I think we all just felt really lucky to have it be this year. And I think we all kind of were hoping something sort of like that because we had all worked really hard, and kind of we knew coaches were telling us like, you guys can do really well and yeah just so fun.
Aaron: Jill Richardson, Female Bobcat of the Week, thanks so much.
Jill: Thank you.
Aaron: The men’s cross country team finished 32nd at the NCAA Championships on Saturday. Junior Tucker Barber led the way for the Bobcats, finishing 135th out of 280 runners. Barber competes for the Bates Nordic skiing team in the winter and the Bobcats are currently in Canada preparing for the season. And Tucker Barber is our Male Bobcat of the Week!
Aaron: Male Bobcat of the Week Tucker Barber with us, on Google Hangouts actually from Canada talking some men's cross country and we'll talk Nordic skiing also. But first of all Tucker, second trip to nationals for you. I heard that conditions were pretty tough down there, a lot of mud, lot of rain what was it like for you throughout the course?
Tucker: Yeah, so conditions were pretty wild probably the muddiest race I've ever been in, comparable to NESCACs of last year. I really like enjoyed the conditions. I think they are true cross country conditions and it was a wild race. You had to stay on your toes, but I thought it was a lot of fun.
Aaron: And you're one of our student athletes who is doing cross country and Nordic skiing while you're here at Bates. What was that experience been like? You're up in Canada right now preparing for the Nordic ski season, no time off between cross-country nationals and Nordic skiing?
Tucker: We're right into it, we are skiing and it's fantastic. It is kind of a lot, but it's fantastic. I mean it's great to be right back into skiing. I think that was a good way to end the running season by going to nationals with the team, and the ball keeps on rolling.
Aaron: Certainly. Well, when you were looking for colleges, you're from Maine, you're from right up the road there. What made Bates the place for you in your opinion?
Tucker: Well there were a lot of factors going on. One of them was looking at schools that had skiing, so obviously Bates is up at the top of the list for that, but its just a lot of factors. There a lot of people I knew and I heard a bunch of things, just coming to Bates talking to the coaches and just talking to the teams and seeing what it had. And at the end of the day that's what it came down to.
Aaron: Were you pretty familiar with the college growing up and whatnot being so close?
Tucker: Yeah, for sure. I mean I knew of it certainly, and I had driven through Lewiston all the time being from Farmington, and yeah I was very aware of Bates. And once I got into kind of the deciding process in high school it definitely was a contender.
Aaron: And tell me a little bit about when you started running cross country and when you started doing Nordic skiing growing up, how did each of those develop for you in terms of when you started doing them and when you decided you wanted to do it in college also?
Tucker: Ever since sophomore year of high school really I started running then. I really grew accustomed to the kind of the cycle of training in the summer for both, and then getting into running, the fall running and then switching right into Nordic. I really enjoy it I think it's a great and there's aspects of both that I really enjoy.
Aaron: Did you start skiing before you started running or how did that go?
Tucker: I've kind of consistently been skiing since middle school for a team. Running has been a little bit more on and off, for a team I've always run. But I really settled on running for a team competitively in sophomore year of high school and ever since that's been, it's been what I've done.
Aaron: You're up in Canada right now. Tell us, with the Nordic skiing team... what's going on up there? What are you guys doing to prepare for the season right now?
Tucker: This is really our first like on snow hurrah! We come up here and the conditions are really good, and we really get to jump directly into skiing. And kind of hone in like our on snow technique after a bunch of trial and training, and it's a great time just to be with the team for a week and kind of relax and study and just spend time skiing.
Aaron: You get to work with two of our more experienced head coaches right? Al Fereshetian and Becky Woods have both been here for quite some time as head coaches, Becky obviously went to Bates as well. What are those two coaches like to work with?
Tucker: Fantastic. I mean they're... first of all they're very understanding about both me doing both Nordic and cross country, and beyond that they're both very experienced and they know exactly what they're doing. It really helps to have a coach that are very understanding and very knowledgeable. It makes for a really great experience yeah.
Aaron: Excellent. Any other thoughts on the cross country season? And what you're most looking forward to in terms of goals for the Nordic season coming up here?
Tucker: Well, the cross country season we came off to a really, really good start. We have a lot of really good guys who are able to make a huge difference on the team on any given day. And what I think what we ended up learning at nationals is that we really need to come together, and work on our end game because we had a lot of that word, potential, and we didn't quite get where we wanted to at nationals. We made it to nationals which was a fantastic and we're super glad about that. But I think what we learned for next year is we've got to be ready to execute, because the teams out there are really tough and we got to get on that level and be ready to fight for it. And for Nordic, I think we've got a very similar thing. We've got a very young team who's got a bunch of great freshmen and it should be a really fun year.
Aaron: The basketball teams got the week off to a strong start on Wednesday with a pair of victories over Husson at Alumni Gym. The women defeated the Eagles 59-51 and the men won 84-70. Here’s a pair of highlights from the afternoon, plus a couple post-game interviews with sophomore Meghan Graff and senior Jeff Spellman!
Aaron: Gadaleta in the corner, Dalia. Dalia drives, pass to Graff. Top of the key, three, Graff does it again! She's got 14 and the Bobcats lead 52-46 with 2:48 to go!
Meghan: I definitely wouldn't have gotten open if it wasn't for my team just like setting plays up. I mean I think like they're definitely focusing on me defensively and me just standing in one spot getting open like isn't going to do it. I need my team to do that for me and they did it, it was great.
Aaron: Spellman with five, Spellman step-back with three, and he drains the triple! 82-68 Bobcats, 49 seconds to go!
Jeff: We don't have anyone come late to a lift for like three months this is the result.
Jeff: And people don't want to hear that, they don't believe it. But then the results speak for themselves and this team just worked so hard. We've had a great few weeks of practice, I'm just so happy we were able to get this win tonight.
Aaron: On Sunday, the men’s basketball team fell to Babson but the women won again, defeating Thomas College 64-30. It’s the fewest points Bates has allowed to an NCAA Division III opponent since 2006. Sophomore Ariana Dalia had a big week for Bates, including 13 points on 5-9 shooting against the Terriers. She has also been a defensive force, ranking second on the team in steals and first in blocked shots through four games. And this week, Ariana Dalia joins the Bobcast.
Aaron: And Ariana before we talk about this season, tell me a little bit about your background from New Jersey. How'd you end up coming to Bates to go to college and play basketball?
Ariana: Yes, so coach came to one of my tournament during the AAU season and she actually drove all the way to New Jersey to watch me play in Patterson. And she got me up here for my overnight and a visit and I just loved the campus when I came here. And then like meeting the team and like coach was very like genuine in the recruiting process and like very honest with me. I just like loved the overall vibe here.
Aaron: Did you have any familiarity with Bates, with the NESCAC growing up or anything?
Ariana: No, I actually did not know what the NESCAC was, which is very rare here but she kind of introduced me, I had heard of like Tufts and a few other schools. And then when I saw like how like it was such a high academic area here, I was like even more interested.
Aaron: Well tell me about your visit to Bates and what your impressions were?
Ariana: One of the girls on the team took me to class with her so I kind of got the class size and then I also play pickup with the team, which was really cool cause I could see like their style of play. And then I got to talk with coach and she took me to admission so I got to meet Jason also, the athletic director. And I just kind of fell in love with the campus and like they took me to Commons and showed me around campus and I really liked it.
Aaron: Growing up when did you start playing basketball? When did you really get into it? When did you decide you kind of wanted to play in college?
Ariana: I started and I would say like second grade, I didn't know I really wanted to play in college until my sophomore year of high school. Where I'm from it's a really high competitive basketball area. Like everyone goes D1 my whole basketball team went D1. I wasn't really sure I want to play until my sophomore year. And then when I got into the recruiting process it was pretty stressful, but once I talked to coach Montgomery I was like wow! She kind of made everything like way easier for me and made Bates like an easy pick.
Aaron: Interesting. Everyone you're playing with and against basically goes D1 from where you're from?
Ariana: Oh, yeah.
Aaron: What was that competitive atmosphere like in high school?
Ariana: Oh, I mean I was playing against like girls... one team went to Columbia, Monmouth, St. Joe's. One girl went to Virginia Tech, It's just like I really focused on defense. I knew I had better offensive players so defense was kind of my main role and then coach Montgomery was like, when you come to Bates I want you to focus on offense and like we really worked on it. She's like I want you taking it to the rim. Like you're such a strong player, you have a good shot. Like we want you shooting the ball. It's kind of how she like turned my style into play into more of an offensive play.
Aaron: Adjustments last year what'd you have to make from high school to college?
Ariana: Just going on with the pace, I mean college is obviously such a faster pace. We had to work on my travels and like my jab step and a faster release to my shots, because the girls are coming at me way faster now in college, than they were in high school and just making stronger moves going to the rim. Last year I'd say she used me in the post a little bit more than this year so far, so last year we were working on more post moves and this year I'm more taking off the dribble for pull ups or whatnot.
Aaron: I guess in high school you weren't the focus of the defense, not any more?
Ariana: Yeah, yeah. I would say she kind of encouraged me to play a bigger role here on the team on offense, and she was seeing me play while she was recruiting me.
Aaron: Got you. Excellent. This season so far you touched on a little bit about it, but this last game against Thomas College, great defensive effort from the team. What was that like to get in 18 steals and holding them to only 30 points?
Ariana: I mean our team's energy was just like through the roof. We were doubling, we were getting steals. Everybody was playing just such a great atmosphere. We are working on doubling the posts a little bit so that's something everyone's kind of progressing towards, so we did some of that yesterday, but a lot of it was kind of help from the weak side and like kind of chipping in, but making sure your backs are covering the girl in the opposite way.
Aaron: You touched on last year having been in the post a lot, Well this year you have a couple six-footers as first years. How nice is that to have them on a team?
Ariana: Oh, it's awesome. Our freshmen are doing really, really good and you and Bri and Jen are really stepping it up. And Bri and Jen they can both also shoot the three, so we have like a very like spread out like big position.
Aaron: Absolutely, NESCAC very strong women's basketball like it is in most sports. What did you learn from your experience last year? And when we do get to conference play you're going to apply to this season, you think?
Ariana: I would say something that we're trying to work on for this season is just pushing it out in the third quarter. Last year we had like really good first half and it was kind of third quarter we have like a scoring drought. This year we're trying to push, if they're switching screens, what do we do if they are doubling the posts? And just like focusing on how we react to how like they're playing.
Aaron: Yeah, for sure then academically what are you studying here at Bates? Have you decided yet?
Ariana: I actually declared I'm going to be a psychology major... minor pending, but yeah psychology.
Aaron: And why that?
Ariana: I really like the disorders I'm taking abnormal psychology class so it covers like schizophrenia, like a bunch of those disorders. I find it really interesting with the causes and how it happens.
Aaron: Do you have any goals in your mind for the team this season for yourself perhaps?
Ariana: We just want to make it to playoffs. We want to win, win, win. We're really just focused on getting to February 22nd, we have it up in our locker room. And just kind of like showing our ability, it's like we're getting assists, having fire, having like energy on defense. We really like focus on communicating and yeah we just want to win.
Aaron: All right, sounds good. Ariana Dalia thanks so much.
Ariana: Thank you for having me.
Aaron: The swimming and diving teams got off to a fast start over the weekend, with the women and men sweeping NESCAC foes Wesleyan on Saturday and Trinity on Sunday in the first two meets of the season.
Aaron: First-year Abigail Gibbons made an immediate impact for the women, winning the 100-yard breastroke on Saturday and the 50-freestyle, 100-breaststroke and 100-IM on Sunday. Plus, she helped the Bobcats win the 200-yard freestyle relay on Saturday and the 200-yard medley relay on back-to-back days.
Aaron: Happy to be joined on the phone by Abigail Gibbons. First-year on the women's swimming and diving team. And Abigail your first two meets of your collegiate career over the weekend, both victories for the Bobcats, you won a number of races yourself. How'd it go? What were your initial impressions of college swimming?
Abigail: Well, it was really... I was really anxious the whole time just 'cause it's my first meet in college. It was my first meet not being with my old team, my old coach. And so I was really excited and really pumped to be with a whole new team. I've never really had a team that really pushed hard, like worked hard and pushed each other and cheered for each other. It was really exciting to be on deck and just watch everybody cheer for each other and see everyone cheer for me at the end. It was great and it was a fun time. It was fun because I was with my friends and I was with my teammates and I loved every second of it.
Aaron: Yeah, part of the fun I feel like in swimming is when you're not racing. You get to be right there next to the water cheering on your teammates. And you said that's kind of a new dynamic for you a little bit it seems like?
Abigail: Yeah, absolutely. It's so crazy to watch people like, want people to want everyone to do better and not be so competitive and just want everyone to win. And that's what we all wanted to do, we wanted to win. We were all rooting for each other and hoping everyone would do their best then it was just great to see.
Aaron: As a first-year you're from New York, New York state from Westtown. Tell me a little bit about growing up? When you started swimming in terms of like competitively? And then when you decided you want to do it in college, and then what made Bates the place for you?
Abigail: Well, I started swimming when I was like four I want to say, competitively when I was like five. And that was just because I was horseback riding and I was playing... I was doing gymnastics and my mom didn't want me doing either 'cause they're so risky. But she put me into swimming and I absolutely loved it. I was with my older sister so we would go to practice all the time together, and it was interesting in the beginning. When I was younger I would always have like such a big team and we all cheered for each other, but then as I got older the team kind of people graduated and left. And so it was like a lot smaller and not as many people trying actually, it was more like people just wanting to swim just to make friends.
Abigail: And so like it was fun, like I had my friends there but it was like people didn't really enjoy it as much and they didn't want to be there as much as I want it to be there. And so I kind of always knew that I was going to swim in college. And for me what made Bates the place for me was, when I was looking... when I met with the coach and I came for my recruiting trip, I just saw like the family bond there in the team. And I just saw how everyone wanted everyone to do better, and I saw everyone pushing each other and it was just... it was such a great feeling that I've never had, and that's kind of how I knew it was really the family feeling that I got there. I felt like I was at home. I felt like I could see myself being best friends with some of these people forever, that's when and how I knew.
Aaron: You touched on that, I mean it's a big roster, right? You have the women's team there's plenty of women on the women's team, and lots of men on the men's team and the dual meets everyone's there at the same time. How long does it take you as a first year to learn everyone's names? I mean I feel like It can be a little overwhelming at first.
Abigail: It was actually really hard I struggled but everyone... For some reason for everyone else it was so easy learning each other's names, and I knew all the freshmen just fine cause I was with them constantly, but it took me so long to get... especially the older guys, the senior and the junior guys names. It took me so long to figure out so I'd be like, "Oh Andrew, who is Andrew?" I really don't know. But finally I have since... when we started really practicing together and working out together, that's when I got to know people and it's really worked out a lot.
Aaron: Excellent and so what was your preparation for this first meet? I mean at the college level, what were people telling you about what it would take to succeed in the meeting? What were you doing to get ready for it?
Abigail: Well I was just doing our practices and I was really anxious as I said before, just because I haven't swam with this team before. I didn't know how I was going to do, I haven't raced like at a meet since like May so it's been a while. And so I just get... I'm a very nervous person but like having the team behind me and just telling me that like you've done the work and now you just have to trust yourself and just swim, and it was like it was fun. I was anxious but it was fun at the same time just because I was swimming and they were all there, and I was talking to my older sister cause she also swims, college swimming and she's like you just need like... dual meets are the best time.
Abigail: You just need to have fun with it. You can't be anxious about it if you don't do what you need to do. That's okay you've done your work for now, just trust yourself and you can always keep trying harder if you don't go what you want to go, it's kind of what I kept in my mind.
Aaron: Your major is biochemistry. You've decided that already it looks like, when did you decide you want to do that? In terms of studying it in college.
Abigail: I've always wanted to be doctor since I was like eight years old, I told myself I going to be a doctor, and my aunt's a doctor and so I would always like talk to her, and she actually invited me to go to this Doctors Without Borders thing that I hopefully am going to in the next few years. But I just... I don't know, I've always wanted to help people and coming from like seeing my aunt and like I would talk to her about it, which is crazy. And I was talking to my anatomy teacher last year and I was like, "Oh, I think I'll just do biology". And she's like, "Well, you have to take chemistry classes anyways so you might as well just do Biochem and that way it just looks better for colleges". And I just like... I love learning about the human body and how everything works together. It's like an easy kind of major for me just because I am so interested in it, that it's not like a lot of hard work, it's more just like fun doing the work.
Aaron: Nice and that kind of connects to swimming right? I mean 'cause swimming you've got to know what your body's doing at all times there in the water right? I imagine.
Abigail: Absolutely, yeah it's the same thing. Hard work, a lot of hard work but I have fun doing it so it makes it 10 times easier to go through the practices.
Aaron: Excellent. What are your thoughts on the season as we get going here? Obviously I'm sure you've heard about the training trip, the team goes on to Florida and whatnot, but what are you most looking forward to for the rest of the year?
Abigail: I'm really looking forward to just traveling with the team, especially for the training trip. It's going to be a lot of swimming but it'll be a lot of fun because I'll be with my teammates and I'll be with my best friends. That will make it a lot easier because when you're with people to push each other, it's so much easier than being by yourself, so I'm excited for that. And then I'm also excited for the end of the year, hopefully I'll go to NESCACs and hopefully we'll get third or even better this year.
Aaron: Sounds good. Abigail Gibbons, thank you so much for joining us on the Bobcast. I appreciate it.
Abigail: Thank you so much for having me.
Aaron: On the men’s side, sophomore Pieter Cory had a big meet on Saturday, winning the 200 and 100-yard freestyle races and helping Bates score in a pair of relays. He followed that up with a second-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly and the 500-yard freestyle on Sunday.
Aaron: Talking some men's swimming on the Bobcast with Pieter Cory, and Pieter nice opening two days for you there in Tarbell pool. What's it like having those home meets at Tarbell back to back there Wesleyan, Trinity to start the year?
Pieter: Thanks Aaron. It's very exciting actually because last year we didn't have very many home meets and then we started off with these two home meets, and what do you know? We won them both.
Pieter: That's really exciting. I got to see a lot of the new freshmen swim, see how they're doing and of course I got to swim too. I got a lot of victories there, which I really enjoyed. We overall did a really good job, it was nice to see us get like... I think in one of the relays we placed one first, second and third, so it was a great thing to see both days actually. Yeah really fun time and I just love to see the team do well.
Aaron: The meet, I was there for part of it there on a Sunday and it kind of...the event sort of flied by a little bit, right? It's one event after another, I mean there's not much time to think about anything.
Pieter: Yeah. For Sunday it was more of a sprint event day. We were doing a lot of 50's, 100's and there was a 500, which I was in and I really like felt the pressure of that cause right after doing my 500 freestyle, like 10 minutes later I had to do 100 IM. I was in a lot of pain but you know all the better. It gets you prepared for NESCACs, for WPI and also for like the Bowdoin and Colby dual meets, which are super important for us.
Aaron: What are some of the events, you touched on the 500 there, what are some of the events your really focused on this year?
Pieter: All right. My best events and the ones I'm focused on this year the most, would probably be the 200 individual medley. The 200 freestyle and the hundred freestyle. I didn't get to swim the 200 IM this weekend but I did get to do the 200 free and the 100 free on Saturday against Wesleyan, which turned out to be really good. And now I'm just getting really psyched up for the 200 IM.
Aaron: Nice so when you have back to back meets like that Saturday and Sunday, what are you doing to kind of cool down or like prepare between the meets? That night you have I guess.
Pieter: Before the meets I'm a big like a... I eat a lot of carbs and get that going the night before and the morning of, and once they get to the pool I actually stretch a lot. Lot of muscle here so I got to, I really got to limber up and get ready so I can actually use them. I'm a big stretching guy and I also would like to swim a lot during a warmup time, get like a thousand yards straight in there so I actually like feel my muscles like are warmed up. And then after the meets it's like almost the same thing. I like to eat a lot after, I like to cool down a lot too, really rest up and then of course just go to bed early and yeah, that's what I did on Saturday. And then just rinse and repeat for Sunday.
Aaron: Well, it's funny we have Thanksgiving this weekend and then you have the Maine state meet a week from then. I mean does coach tell you any dietary requirements or you're on your own?
Pieter: Well, he can't tell me nothing, but I'm going to dig into a turkey like I'm doing a massive carbo-load a week beforehand. I'm going to be amped up, I might be a little heavier, but all the power to me. Watch me coach.
Aaron: You mentioned you liked watching the first-years swim. What do you tell them about... you're a sophomore. What were some of the adjustments you may remember from when you started college swimming compared to high school?
Pieter: I remember it, you just got to trust the process, right? A lot of the freshmen get stressed out about if they're going to be in the events they want to be in, or are they going to be as good as they thought they were at the end of the season. Like it's too early to stress out about that, right? I just tell them go in there and do everything you can, try to impress the coach all that, just trust that you will be where you want to be in a couple months from now at NESCACs and yeah, there's no point in stressing out about a little dual meet or anything, right? Just go up there, do your best and have fun.
Aaron: Right. Because it's interesting 'cause like you want to win the dual meet obviously, but it is your... it's all about building up to NESCACs and nationals.
Pieter: Yeah. This past weekend there was a bunch, we had so many good freshmen. It was really great to see a Kona Lindsey swim, he's a freshman breaststroker we have Nathan Berry, really good sprint freestyler, John Marcolina same thing. And of course Nate Sommer he's a breaststroker as well. It's great to see that crew doing well in their events and I'm just getting so excited to see them swim at NESCACs and potentially nationals.
Aaron: Excellent. Growing up when did you start swimming? And when did you decided you want to do it in college?
Pieter: Yeah, I've been a life long swimmer. I tried to do tennis but that didn't work out, same with some gymnastics but then I got much taller so that didn't work out. I've been swimming competitively since I was an eight and ever since then I haven't really done anything else other than swimming. I swam a lot in high school and I just swim on our club team back home whenever I can. And that's why I did for like 12 years as well.
Pieter: And then I remember I wanted to swim in college when in my junior year, I had a really great season pretty breakthrough and I was actually capable of like going to division three college. That's when I started talking to a lot of college coaches and I remember for Bates, I didn't ever come to my recruit trip until April of my senior year, so I was almost done with it. And then I came on to my recruit trip here and I realized what a great program we have here, and like what great coaches we have like Peter Casares, Vanessa Williamson and now Bill is the assistant coach, and I really love them all. They're really great at what they do. The team atmosphere is so great, so that's why I decided to come here.
Aaron: Oh, certainly the coaches really were a big appeal there obviously. And the other coach the diving coach, Mike Bartley he likes to whistle the whole time during that meet. What's that like to hear that all the time?
Pieter: Mike is the best cheerer ever I love him, and I really appreciate it when he gets us all psyched up for that and I love to hear him whistle. He's always encouraging us and I really like it. Yeah.
Aaron: Excellent. Do you have any goals in your mind for this season? What in your opinion would make it a successful year for you?
Pieter: Last year I had a really great season, I made the finals at NESCAC, the 200 individual medley, I got the team record in that. And now this year it's more about I really want to go to nationals so I've got three events I could potentially do that in a 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle and the 200 IM, and that's all I'm interested in. Like I'm trying to get other guys like psyched up for that and I really hope we can send either a bunch of dudes or individuals or even a medley relay or an 800 freestyle relay or a 400 freestyle. We've got a lot of potential for that so I'm just getting really amped up that's the end goal. Yeah.
Aaron: Sounds good. Pieter Cory, thank you so much.
Pieter: Thank you so much.
Aaron: We put a bow on the fall sports season this week by chatting with men’s soccer head coach Tyler Sheikh. The Bobcats had a strong season despite numerous injuries, finishing fifth in the conference with a 5-4-1 record in NESCAC action. Bates posted an overall record of 9-6-1, falling in the NESCAC quarterfinals to Williams.
Tyler: We've had a couple of weeks now to sort of let it sink in and the season did die on the field over at Williams a couple of weeks ago. But I think immediate reaction was pride, weeks after the fact, pride, because you've hit the nail on the head. Not just Peder after four games, losing the best player on our team I think would have been one of the top two or three players in conference. But also Tony Heredia who with this many first-years and him being out the entire season, and knee injury was just, it's a huge personality to lose in the locker room. But then we had guys step up.
Tyler: A guy like Owen Keleher who came in, a transfer sophomore he was... he fell towards the end of the season as well. Heading into the last game, of that Williams game, our entire left side defense left center back and left back James Peter top player and Liam Goldfarb were out. Heading into that game we were busted up. But I think ultimately if other teams lost the same, they would've probably hit the end of the road as well. 360 Monday morning quarterback, incredible pride for the first-years coming along, the seniors that were able to play, bringing them along in a real Bobcat fashion, a lot of grit this season.
Aaron: Any matches that the team won this year that really will stand out to you in particular?
Tyler: I think the ones that the guys will point to this season will definitely be a Bowdoin at home under the lights. Real fun atmosphere, I know a lot of our guys took in the first Bobcat basketball games this past weekend and those were a lot of fun. I think just students supporting students, at that Bowdoin home game where we fought back, got a deserved tie was massive. Beating the 15th ranked team Middlebury at home was huge during Back to Bates and picking up six points that weekend. A lot of tough contests, we welcomed two number one ranked teams to Lewiston this year, which was fun and we battled both, one in double overtime and the other one fell two to one, but gave them everything that they could handle. We're right there and I think the future is really bright for this team.
Aaron: Yeah, you touched on that Bowdoin match, I mean Jacob Iwowo scored the goal in that one, and he's one of your 17 first-years. What's that like as a coach to have that many people getting adjusted to college soccer?
Tyler: Yeah, we were... not just college soccer, Bates College as a whole and Bates is its own entity. It's... you've got to be special to be here and it's a special place when you are here, but there's a lot to learn. Again, pointing to the seniors and juniors in the way that they were able to bring along, Blaise Marceau who ended up being the de facto captain's captain, as a junior really held this team together and all the seniors rallied around. But I was remarking to you before this interview that I'm a husband, I'm a father like a lot of our fantastic male coaches here. And those coaches on the women's side as well that are mothers and I don't know how they all do it, but I was juggling a lot, just trying to be a dad to my daughter and these guys sort of took care of themselves. I have a lot of... again going back to that word pride in coaching them, but also a huge thank you. I think whenever they had an issue they sort of internally dealt with it.
Tyler: But 17 I know we won't have as many next year, and then the year after that we'll go back to normal numbers. But I think it's the beginning of something special.
Aaron: We've talked about how there's new grass here at Russell Street Field, and you mentioned the fan support. Seems like there's a lot of momentum behind the men's soccer program right now. Do you sense that also?
Tyler: Yes, yes we do. And it starts internally, again it starts with the players but the faith that I think Jason and Celine, and Clayton on down essentially, admissions. It's a conscious effort saying we want to be good at the sport and I think they want to be good at all sports here. And we've seen it in my 15, 16 months at Bates facilities have gone up. Alumni engagement has gone up. One of the exit interview questions I've had for our seniors was how they sort of saw their four year arc, and they felt over their four years that they're incredibly supported. Some things are brewing for sure, maybe a proverbial glass ceiling we're hitting right now, just as this being one of the better years or equaling one of the better years in recent memory. We got to push through sustain and certainly push through and that's going to take a strong effort from everyone top-down but it's going to be a fun fight.
Aaron: Yeah. You mentioned exit interviews with seniors, Obviously you talk with all the guys who are coming back next year also. What are some takeaways from those meetings you have?
Tyler: Yeah, like I said as a coach I can look back in and say it maybe the end of the line, maybe one too many injuries to overcome, but guys are ticked off that they're not playing right now. They saw that last year the NESCAC had six teams in, this year the committee saw fit to put only four in and we finished fifth in conference, And they took the six place team over us. Guys, they saw that all the NESCAC teams won the first round there's still two alive in the final four. It's the top conference in the country we know what's in front of us, but with all the minutes that first-years and sophomores picked up the season, I think they have faith in themselves. They know that we don't start at mid base lodge, we go back to the bottom of the mountain and it's not, "Oh, how do we pick off from five wins?" It's we've got to start with win number one next season.
Aaron: Yeah. I thought David Goodstein did a really good job this year in goal as a junior. He's a junior but he hadn't really played that much previously and stepped in well.
Tyler: No, David had to pick up for a three year starter Robbie Montanaro who's studying and playing at a really high clip over in Scotland right now at St. Andrews. Yeah, David came on, being behind Robbie, I'm sure no one likes to sit on the bench. He fought tooth and nail and beat out a fantastic senior whose personality we're going to miss Owen Lindenfeldar. And then first-year Ryan Manning is going to be a sophomore next season and he's not going to go easy on David now. But that goalkeeper position you alluded to it, some massive saves. When we had a lot of those big NESCAC wins they were shutouts, so Goodstein as another junior captain helping Blaise out was massive for us this season.
Aaron: Any other big takeaways that you saw from this year and what you're looking for next year to break through that glass ceiling you touched on?
Tyler: Yeah. Again, I think youth... there's not a manager in the world... There's a famous manager in world soccer, Jose Mourinho who just took over for Tottenham, and he was the manager at Manchester United, so we're talking some of the top five clubs in the world.
Tyler: And he spoke to... there's not a manager in the world who doesn't like youth and he talked to the Academy set up and we're bringing in new bodies, and the returning players know we're hitting the recruiting trail hard around the country. We've got some fantastic 2020's that we're bringing in and some others that'll be applying to Bates, and the wheel moves so to speak. No real definitive person that we'll shout out, other than it's going to take a village to sort of raise this thing. And I think we're going to raise a winner pretty soon.
Aaron: Next time on the Bates Bobcast, we’ll recap a trio of basketball games taking place over the next week, including a pair Tuesday night at Southern Maine and one more on Monday with the men traveling to Johnson & Wales. Plus, we’ll catch up with this year’s swimming captains in advance of the Maine State Meet. All that and more, next time, on the Bates Bobcast!