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Thursday, Oct 6, 2022

Middlebury sports teams travel and compete across country for spring break

Kyle McCausland ’25 was on fire for the men’s baseball team last week in Florida, recording 15 RBIs and 3 HR. COURTESY OF MIDDLEBURY ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS
Kyle McCausland ’25 was on fire for the men’s baseball team last week in Florida, recording 15 RBIs and 3 HR. COURTESY OF MIDDLEBURY ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

Open water. Dry grass. Warm weather. 

Last week, many of Middlebury’s varsity and club teams traveled away from campus to practice and compete throughout spring break.

With the Ralph Myhre Golf Course in Middlebury still closed, the men’s golf team traveled to North Carolina to train. Women’s golf didn’t take an official team trip, but a number of players also headed south for warmer weather and dryer turf to play on. 

Club crew also traveled to the Tar Heel State, training at Lake Lure. Men’s crew captain Noah Long ’22 explained that the spring break trip improves team chemistry and fitness, preparing them for the spring season. 

“We row two to three times a day at the very least, starting when the sun rises all the way up until there is no more daylight,” Long said. “There is definitely a strong sense of solidarity and togetherness during these first few days.”

Nearby, the ultimate frisbee teams competed in the College Southerns Tournament in Statesboro, Georgia. Both teams went unbeaten, with the men’s team claiming the victory via a handy 15–6 win over the College of Charleston in the final and the women’s team beating Carleton. 

The ultimate teams traveled north for the final weekend of break, with the men’s team competing in a Virginia tournament, “Rodeo.” The Pranksters defeated Richmond, the No. 2 seed in Division-III, in the semifinal before falling to newfound rival St. Olaf’s in the final by a single point. The women’s side competed in the Needle in a Ho-Stack Tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina, once again going unbeaten and beating a number of highly ranked Division-I teams.

Softball and baseball traveled even further south, spending spring break in Florida. The softball team competed in nine games in Clermont, recording a 5–4 record. Meanwhile, baseball competed in the Russmatt Tournament in Auburndale, going 3–5. 

Mike Leonard, the head coach of men’s baseball, told The Campus that the team enjoyed good weather and a competitive schedule over spring break. “It's a great opportunity for us to learn and develop as a team,” he added.

The women’s club water polo team also traveled to Florida, competing against some of the top teams in the region. This trip served as great preparation for the team as they prepare to defend their title as national champions. This tournament will be held in late April in Middlebury. 

Other teams opted to head west for spring break. Men’s and women’s track & field practiced and competed in two meets in San Diego, finding success and several individual personal bests. 

Max Cluss ’23 set the school record in the men’s 1,500 meter run at the Ross and Sharon Irwin Collegiate meet on March 19, setting a time of 3:50.65, 0.19 seconds faster than the previous record set in 2019. Captain Zander Kessler ’22.5 set a personal best in the 5,000 meter, winning the race and stopping the clock at 14:24.88. 

At the PLNU Collegiate Open on March 26, Eva Kaiden ’23, Michelle Louie ’24, Cady Barns ’22.5 and Joely Virzi ’24 set the school record in the women’s 4x100 meter relay with a blistering time of 48.78 seconds, shaving 0.08 seconds off the previous record. Rookie jumper Sam McGarrhan ’25 also hit a personal record of 1.86 meters on the high jump.

“I’m really excited for the outdoor season,” McGarrahan said. “It was nice to get off to a strong start in San Diego and I can’t wait for the start of NESCAC competition.” McGarrahan will get his first crack at outdoor NESCAC competition on April 9 at Amherst College.

Men’s and women’s tennis also trained and competed in California. Both squads found success against teams from the West Coast, recording a combined 8–4 record. One highlight of the trip was men’s tennis’ win over the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, who ranked No. 3 in Division-III headed into the match. It was also the first time the Panthers have beaten Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the regular season since 2010.

“That was a great moment,” Robby Ward ’23, a junior on men’s tennis, said. “Our confidence is up for sure, but I keep reminding the guys that we can’t let our guard down.”

“Spring break is a unique opportunity where we aren’t focused on school at all — we’re there to play tennis,” Ward added. “That was a great opportunity for us to hang out. We’re like a family. We are constantly supporting each other.”

With all spring sports teams now back on campus, Panther fans can look forward to watching some of their favorite teams competing again on home soil.

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