Use the fields below to perform an advanced search of The Middlebury Campus's archives. This will return articles, images, and multimedia relevant to your query.
54 items found for your search. If no results were found please broaden your search.
Erin Nicholas ’22 entered high school with the intention of playing soccer. But the day before tryouts, she switched course and chose to play field hockey with her older sister.
Siefer’s Scoop podcast: Roy Heffernan ’78, Middlebury Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, current Owner-Partner at Life is Good
This past weekend, six fall varsity teams competed in NCAA Tournament competition. Most squads traveled out of Vermont for their matches, although field hockey, thanks to their record, hosted other schools. From cross country to volleyball, here is how each team fared:
Siefer’s Scoop podcast: Cat Harrison ’19, two-time captain of women’s basketball, returns as team’s assistant coach
This week, Cat Harrison ’19 joins the Siefer’s Scoop podcast. A four-year center on the women’s basketball team at Middlebury, Harrison was a two-time captain and ranks second in program history in blocked shots (105) and fourth in rebounds (746). After graduating, Harrison worked at a leadership development firm in Washington, D.C., for two years, but this summer, she returned to Middlebury as an assistant coach of the women’s basketball team. On this episode, Harrison discusses her time as a student-athlete at Middlebury, why she decided to return as an assistant coach and what Panther fans can expect from the team this season.
Crisp air and bare trees can only signal one thing: the dawn of the winter sports season. As fall sports wind down at Middlebury, it’s time to turn our attention to the 14 varsity winter sports teams that are set to compete over the next few months. Here are previews for every varsity winter sports team.
Skylar Diamandis ’23, from Salt Lake City, UT, is a junior on the men’s swim and water polo teams. In this installment of “Seven Questions,” Diamandis discusses why he chose Middlebury, his experience on the swim and water polo teams, and his elevator pitch to prospective Middlebury students.
Week in Review: Varsity teams go undefeated at home, cross country teams place high at NESCAC Championship
Men’s cross country
Siefer’s Scoop podcast: Jack Kramer ’10.5, former football quarterback, finds wild success with MarketSnacks
On this episode of the Siefer’s Scoop podcast, Blaise hosts Jack Kramer ’10.5, who was a four-year quarterback on the football team at Middlebury. Kramer received a bachelor’s degree in German and economics from the college in 2011, and, after graduating, co-founded an economics newsletter, called MarketSnacks. In 2019, MarketSnacks was acquired by Robinhood, a prominent American financial services company. Currently, Kramer co-hosts the Snacks Daily podcast and is the managing editor of news at Robinhood. On this episode, Kramer discusses his favorite experiences and lessons learned at Middlebury, how he grew MarketSnacks and how he’s currently enjoying his role at Robinhood. Extra: Kramer also offers some insightful advice to current Middlebury students.
Zander Kessler ’22.5, from Concord, Mass., is a senior Feb on the men’s cross country team. In this installment of “Seven Questions,” Kessler reveals his favorite part about being on the cross country team, his favorite memory from the season so far and one thing that people don’t realize about the sport. BS: Why Middlebury? ZK: I chose Middlebury because I wanted a strong academic school with a strong cross country/ track and field program where I would be pushed but still able to contribute and score. I toured almost all of the NESCAC schools but felt the most welcomed by the team and community at Middlebury. BS: What do you study here and how do you spend your free time? ZK: I'm an environmental studies-chemistry joint major. Coursework and sports take a significant chunk of my time, but I love to ski during J-Term, and I've been known to take long, leisurely meals in the dining halls with teammates and other friends on days when I have a lighter load. This fall I've been getting outside to swimming holes or leaf-peeping spots before the weather gets too cold. BS: What's your favorite part about being on the cross country team at Midd? ZK: My favorite part about the team is the sense of community. When I arrived for preseason my freshman year, I had 20 best friends right away. With so many diverse interests, someone on the team is always down for some sort of activity or able to help me with some sort of problem. I really enjoy how close we are with the women's cross country team as well as the larger track team because that means any question can always be answered by someone on the team. The support network of a 100-person team is a crucial part of my health, happiness, and both academic and athletic success. BS: What has been your favorite memory from this season so far? ZK: I don't know about a specific moment but my favorite part of this season so far has been [being] able to have meals at the same table again. I never laugh harder than when we have a big group crowded around a table at a Proc dinner. BS: Are there any misconceptions about cross country as a sport? ZK: People don't realize how much thought goes into racing. Before a meet, we will strategize about gaps and weak spots in other teams just like you would in other sports. In our last meet, there were 493 men entered, so it was important to know beforehand the jerseys of the teams that were the strongest and which individuals are strong but on slightly weaker teams. It's also important to know the landmarks of a particular course to judge how much time you have left. I'm constantly doing math in my head while running to calculate how fast I'm going, which teams have people ahead of me, how many people are ahead of me and what our team's score is. BS: Where is your favorite spot to run in Vermont? ZK: Running is beautiful everywhere around here, but I especially love the dirt roads on South Street and Creek Road. BS: What is one thing about you that few people know? ZK: My friends know this, but the reason I go by Zander with a Z is that in Kindergarten there were two other Alexanders in my class and I didn't want to have Alex K on my name tag. I spelled it phonetically with a Z instead of an X because I hadn't grasped the concept of X making a Z sound. Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Link: https://open.spotify.com/episode/2eEeoO2aJEAzlgtdhkkocX?si=8b83c5df51334b31On the first Siefer’s Scoop episode of the 2021-22 academic year, Blaise hosts Colby Morris, a former Middlebury College baseball pitcher who’s now chasing Major League Baseball. Named 2018 NESCAC Pitcher of the Year, Morris was a four-year player on the Middlebury varsity baseball team. Since graduating from Middlebury in 2019, Morris has played for several independent and minor league baseball teams; currently, he’s pitching for the Brooklyn Cyclones, a High-A affiliate of the New York Mets. On this episode, Morris discusses his time at Middlebury, how it prepared him for professional baseball, and what his goals are with the sport. He also recalls his favorite class at Middlebury, his go-to restaurant in the area and his favorite dorm on campus.
Hello Middlebury sports fans! I’m pleased to announce that, for the second consecutive year, I’ll be hosting the Siefer’s Scoop podcast for The Campus. I began this podcast series last academic year, when I interviewed a different varsity athlete each week. I asked athletes about their beginnings with athletics, their path to Middlebury, and their current experience as an athlete at the College, among other things. I released 19 episodes throughout the fall and spring, with athletes from 18 different varsity teams (a little over half of Middlebury’s 31 athletic programs) represented on the podcast. This year, I’m shifting the focus of the podcast from current student-athletes to alumni — specifically, alumni who played on a varsity sports team at Middlebury. I don’t have a strict set of criteria for guests, but I’m focusing on alumni who have excelled athletically after their time at Middlebury, and/or those who are changing the world in a captivating line of work. I will be releasing episodes every other week this fall, and episodes will run about 30 minutes. You can find them on The Campus’ website, Spotify and many other listening platforms. The first episode of the fall will be released next week! (And you won’t want to miss it.) ‘Til then, stay well, and Go Panthers!
With the academic year underway at Middlebury, fall sports are back in full swing — and in typical fashion, the Panther squads carry high expectations this season. Here are previews for each of the 11 fall varsity sports teams competing this season. Women’s golf season preview by Josh Rosenstein Head coach: Bill Mandigo (33 years at Midd) Captains: Maddy Cordeiro ’23, Katie Murphy ’23 Players to watch for: Audrey Tir ’25, Kayla Li ’23, Jacqueline Slinkard ’24 Background: Women’s golf didn’t have the best of seasons last spring, finishing fourth among five teams in the 2021 NESCAC Championship. There are positives to take away from last semester, though, including the play of captain Katie Murphy ’23. Last spring, Murphy led the Panthers in finishes in every tournament. With her paving the way, how far can the Panthers go? Are there any first-year players who can step in and immediately compete for a top spot? Key matches: George Phinney Classic (Home; Sept. 18–19), Williams Invitational (Away; Oct. 2–3) The Middlebury women’s golf team kicked off their season last weekend at the Hamilton Invitational at Yahnundasis Golf Club in New Hartford, New York. The opener was the first of five tournaments of the fall season. The Panthers are also excited to travel together as a team in a more normal manner, as far as Covid-19 restrictions are concerned. The players still get tested every Monday, and remain cautious when interacting with other teams, but their travel schedule is that of a typical season. Besides the tournament at home next weekend, the NESCAC qualifiers on Oct. 9 and 10 are marked on all the players’ calendars. The top four teams qualify for the NESCAC Championships in the spring, and the winner gets the privilege of hosting the tournament. “We are so beyond grateful and just so pumped to be able to compete this season,” Murphy and Cordeiro said in an interview with The Campus. “There is still a lot of uncertainty in the world, so [we are] thankful Midd and the NESCAC did everything possible to make this happen.” Men’s golf season preview By Charles Crounse Head coach: Bill Beaney (34 years at Midd) Players to watch for: Colin McCaigue ’24, Anthony King ’23, Sean McGarrity ’23, Hogan Beazley ’23, KJ Dieker ’22 Background: Men’s golf won the NESCAC Championship last spring, giving them some momentum ahead of this season. The Panthers will certainly miss the contributions of recently graduated captain Jordan Bessalel ’21, the reigning NESCAC Player of the Year, but the team has the pieces to restock the lineup. One key player will be Hogan Beazley ’23 — the junior was an All-NESCAC First Team player last year. Key matches: Williams Fall Invitational (Away; Sept. 18–19), Sap Bucket Challenge (Away; Oct. 12) Men’s golf opened its season this past weekend with a home match against 22 other teams, with the Panthers taking fourth over the course of the two-day event. Beazley took home the individual honors with an impressive score of 140 over the two 18-hole rounds, finishing a comfortable three strokes ahead of second place. The team will turn to their returning seniors for leadership this year, with Phin Choukas ’22 and Chris Thompson ’22 among those returning to the team after taking the past year off due to Covid-19. Thompson and Choukas were among those competing for Middlebury’s first team this weekend, with both set to play key roles this season. Returning NESCAC Freshman of the Year Colin McCaigue also looks set to star, as do Hogan Beazley ’23 and Sean McGarrity ’23. The team has also added four first years to its all-star lineup as they look to blend youth with experience. Men’s cross country by Charles Crounse Head coach: Nicole Wilkerson (19 years at Midd) Captains: Quinlan McGaugh ’22, Noah Whiting ’22 Players to watch for: Drew Donahue ’25, Alec Gironda ’24, Zander Kessler ’22.5, Max Cluss ’23 Background: Men’s cross country has depth in every class this season, from first years to seniors. The question is, as usual: How do the Panthers stack up against other leaders in the NESCAC? How well could they do against Williams, a perennial national contender, for example? Middlebury always finds a way to compete, but could they vault to the top of the NESCAC this year? Key matches: Aldrich Invitational (Home; Sept. 18), Purple Valley Classic (Away; Sept. 25), Connecticut College Invitational (Away; Oct. 16) Men’s cross country kicked off their season this past week with a win at the Maple Syrup Challenge. The Panthers nearly swept the top ten with just three rivals sneaking in in second, seventh and eighth respectively. Alec Gironda ’24 earned an impressive victory in his Panthers cross-country debut. The team looks primed for a strong year this season, hoping to improve on their third place in the NESCAC back in 2019. They will look to top their sixth place finish in the NCAA Regionals and 29th place at the NCAA Championship. Captains Noah Whiting ’22 and Quin McGaugh ’22 are excited about the team’s prospects this season. Whiting says the team is particularly excited about the first-year and sophomore classes, all of whom had yet to race a proper college 8k coming into the season. Alec Gironda ’24, Peter Burke ’24, Drew Donahue ’25, Oscar deFrancis ’24.5 and Will Lavey ’25 all look set to play big roles as part of the up-and-coming cast of untested runners. Other key runners will include Zander Kessler ’22.5, who placed 57th at the last edition of the NCAA Regional race, and captain Quinlan McGaugh ’22, who placed 62nd at the same race. The team remains under the leadership of coach Nicole Wilkerson, who has led the team to the NCAA Championship race in every year of her coaching tenure, which spans back to 2011. Women’s Field Hockey - Blaise Siefer Head coach: Katharine DeLorenzo (20 years at Midd) Captains: Isabel Chandler ’21.5, Danielle Brown ’21.5, Erin Nicholas ’22 Players to watch for: Katie George ’23 (F), Grace Harlan ’22.5 (GK), Meg Fearey ’21.5 (D) Background: Is there a better D-3 women’s field hockey team in the nation? The answer is probably no. Women’s field hockey has won the NCAA National Championship the past three seasons — 2017, 2018 and 2019 — and return a core group of top players. It would be silly to bet against this team in any game this season. Key matches: Bowdoin (Home; Sept. 18), Tufts (Home; Oct. 10), Williams (Away; Oct. 26) Women’s Soccer - Blaise Siefer Head coach: Peter Kim (17 years at Midd) Captains: Eliza van Voorhis ’21.5, Isabelle Hartnett ’21.5, Simone Ameer ’21.5 Players to watch for: Fanny Lodge ’24 (F), Elizabeth Peebles ’23 (M), Eliza Robinson ’21.5 (M) Background: After an early exit in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, how well can women’s soccer respond this year? They are a perennial juggernaut, last making the NCAA Championship game in 2018, when they fell in dramatic fashion to Williams. The Panthers will have firm tests against Tufts, Williams and Amherst this fall, which could go a long way in determining the ultimate course of their season. Key matches: Amherst (Home; Oct. 3), Tufts (Home; Oct. 10), Williams (Away; Oct. 26) Men’s Soccer - Blaise Siefer Head coach: Alex Elias ’08 (6 years at Midd) Captains: Liam Sloan ’22.5, Raffi Barsamian ’21.5, Michael McFarlane ’22 Players to watch for: Ryan Grady ’23 (GK), Jordan Saint-Louis ’24 (F), Ben Powers ’23 (M), Brandon Reid ’21.5 (F) Background: Men’s soccer hasn’t finished atop the NESCAC since 2008 — could this finally be the year that breaks that streak? The team would need to get past the likes of Tufts, Amherst and Connecticut College first, which won’t be an easy task. But there is a lot of promise among the first-year and sophomore classes, and the Panthers have no shortage of experience; Liam Sloan ’22.5, Raffi Barsamian ’21.5 and Michael McFarlane ’22 are all All-NESCAC caliber players when healthy. Don’t bet against men’s soccer turning a few heads this season. Key matches: Connecticut College (Away; Oct. 2), Amherst (Home; Oct. 3), Tufts (Home; Oct. 10) Men’s Tennis - Blaise Siefer Head coach: Andrew Thomson ’10 (3 years at Midd) Captains: David Vilys ’22, Stan Morris ’22, and Zach Hilty ’22 Players to watch for: Robby Ward ’23, Aidan Harris ’23 Background: It’s been two years since men’s tennis competed, as the team didn’t have enough players to field a team last spring. After all that time off — and with a relatively new head coach — it’s hard to predict how men’s tennis might fare this season. Will their senior leadership help propel them to success? Key matches: Middlebury Invitational (Home; Sept. 18–19), Panther Classic (Home; Oct. 2–3), Wesleyan Invitational (Away; Oct. 16–17) Women’s Tennis - Blaise Siefer Head coach: Rob Barr (interim head coach) Captains: Brinlea La Barge ’23, Amanda Frank ’23, Caitlin Neal ’23, Nora Dahl ’22, Ruhi Kamdar ’22.5 Players to watch for: Gena Huang ’24, Amy Delman ’24 Background: Many sophomores and juniors on women’s tennis took the spring semester off — how strong will they return? Also, with former head coach Rachel Kahan taking the head women’s tennis coaching job at Yale several months ago, the team enters an adjustment period as they search for a permanent head coach. Key matches: Williams Invitational (Away; Sept. 24–26), Middlebury Invitational (Home; Oct. 8–10) Women’s Volleyball - Sam Lipin Head Coach: Sarah Raunecker (26 years at Midd) Captains: Corley Doyle ’22, Maggie Wise ’22, Jane Nelson ’22 Players to Watch: Laney Sullivan ’23 (OH), Gabbie O’Toole ’25 (S), Kelly Ferrero ’23.5 (L) Background: After jumping out to a 5–0 start to the season having only lost one set in total, the volleyball team is primed for a big season. The squad went 15–10 two seasons prior, and those sophomores and first-years (five players total) have worked tirelessly to rebuild their team. Senior Jane Nelson ’22 claimed she has never been a part of a team as closely knit as this one. The Panthers will look to stay undefeated when they play their first NESCAC opponents of the year this coming weekend. Key Matches: Amherst (Home; Sept. 24), Wesleyan (Away; Oct. 8), Tufts (Away; Oct. 16) Women’s Cross Country - Sam Lipin Head Coach: Nicole Wilkerson (19 years at Midd) Captains: Emily Bulczynski ’22, Cassie Kearney ’22, Grace Kirkpatrick ’22 Players to Watch: Sophie Nardelli ’23, Eliza Broughton ’22, Katelyn Pease ’22 Background: Cassie Kearney ’22 has dominated the field during her time at Middlebury, once again doing so when she broke a course record in the 5k at Vermont Tech this past weekend. She leads an experienced team poised to build upon their fourth place NESCAC finish in 2019. Middlebury hosts their only cross country event of the season this coming Saturday at their annual Aldrich Invitational. Key Matches: Aldrich Invitational (Home; Sept. 18), Connecticut College Invitational (Away; Oct. 16) Men’s Football - Sam Lipin Head Coach: Bob Ritter (26 years at Midd) Captains: Gordon Pollock ’22, Will Jernigan ’21.5, Jack Pistorius ’21.5 Players to watch: Zander Bailey ’21.5 (LB), Jimmy Connell ’21.5 (TE) Background: In their last full season in 2019, Middlebury football dominated the field, going 9–0 and winning the NESCAC Championship. However, their games were not won by huge margins, with five games ending in a one-score lead. As players return from their semesters off due to Covid-19 and a large freshmen class steps onto the field, will Middlebury once again prevail as champs? Key Matches: Williams (Away; Sept. 18), Hamilton (Away; Nov. 6), Tufts (Home; Nov. 13)
This academic year, I hosted my first ever podcast: Siefer’s Scoop. I began recording episodes in September — having absolutely no idea what I was doing — and just wrapped up my last episode this week, still with no clue what I’m doing.The idea behind the podcast was to explore the unique athletic journeys of Middlebury’s student athletes. So many athletes at Middlebury carry fascinating stories — from how they picked up their sport(s) to how they got to Middlebury — but I found that many of these stories were going untold. I hoped that Siefer’s Scoop would begin to bridge that gap. While there was a steep learning curve associated with breaking into the podcasting world, I’ve enjoyed the challenge every week, and have recorded 19 total episodes with Middlebury athletes. From my first episode of the year with Cole Crider ‘23, to my special episode on student-athlete activism, to my final episode with Brett Perlmutter ‘24, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to chat with some of the most interesting student athletes at Middlebury. The athletes I’ve interviewed span 18 varsity teams, a little over half of Middlebury’s 31 athletic programs. While there are many other athletes that I wish I could’ve hosted on the podcast this year, I’m still really happy with what I’ve covered. There were so many highlights from this year — too many to count, to be honest — so, for those who maybe didn’t catch every episode, I thought I’d list my favorite quote from each episode this spring. I also wrote a semester in review article last winter, so go check that out if you want more details on my fall coverage.I hope these quotes put a smile on your face. Most of them come from the “Why Midd?” section of the episodes, but others are just snippets from interesting stories that student athletes have told me on the podcast. Looking forward to returning to the airwaves soon — whether it be this summer or fall. ’Til then, stay well, and Go Panthers! Episode #9: Nate Moll ’22, men’s squash“What’s really telling is that we spend time outside of scheduled practice to hang out with each other. We’ll just watch a movie on the weekend or just hang out and enjoy each others’ company. I was extremely lucky to find that at Middlebury.” Episode #10: Delanie Goniwiecha ’23, women’s hockey“Middlebury appealed to me in so many ways — just walking around on campus, it felt more like a home than other campuses’ did. I really liked the way they went about things and treated students and athletes very similarly: [athletes] aren’t going to be put on a higher level than anyone else, and I actually really respected that.” Episode #11: Jordyn Johnson ’23, women’s softball“Freshmen have to decorate the locker room. Something really funny was us trying to come up with the theme. All the sophomores are like, ‘Yours isn’t going to be as good as ours.’ We went to the Dollar Store and we got a Buzz Lightyear piñata, which is kind of random. We ordered alien glasses — and they never came.”Episode #12: Beau Root ’23, men’s baseball“It seemed like there was such a bond to the school. My dad had a couple friends that went to [other schools], and when my dad mentioned I was thinking of going there, they were like, ‘Oh nice, if he wants to talk about it let me know.’ Whereas, when he talked to friends who had gone to Middlebury, they were like, ‘Oh my god, that’s great, I loved it there. Please, get me his number, I’ll reach out to him.’”Episode #13: Hans Pessl ’22.5, men’s Nordic“Midd skiing has been a total dream. I’d be with those guys all the time — it’s a great group of people. Episode #14: Lucy Ambach ’23, women’s volleyball“I didn’t want to visit Middlebury at first. My dad and I were about to take this long road trip… and I was feeling very tired and didn’t want to go. I remember my mom telling me that I would love the campus. So, I grudgingly said, ‘Ok, I’ll go.’ And my dad and I visited in April, and we were touring the campus in a blizzard. I fell in love with the campus — I had that cliché, gut feeling that everyone talks about.”Episode #15: Men’s baseball captains Jack Farrell ’21 and Tommy Eastman ’21Tommy: “I was amazed at how close the team was, how much time the team spent together. Everyone was such good friends and it was so natural. We are all friends for life now.” Episode #16: Men’s golf captains Jordan Bessalel ’21 and John Mikus ’21Jordan: “Everybody is really close with each other, everybody really wants each other to succeed. When we qualified to have the NESCAC Championships hosted here, it was pretty competitive for who would end up making the playing squad. But one thing that really stood out to me was just how much everybody wanted the next guy to succeed and give the team the best chance. That’s a testament to how close everyone is and what kind of a culture we have.”Episode #17: Ellie Barney ’21.5, women’s hockey“My mom and I were visiting a bunch of schools on the East Coast, and the pass from Boston to Middlebury was closed the day we wanted to go, so we had to go through Rutland. And my mom doesn’t like driving on two-way highways and hated it. It was the longest drive, and I was in such a bad mood; when we got there, I didn’t even get out of the car. But then we got Schaffer’s, and I was like ‘This is the best sandwich of my life. I like this place.’ I didn’t even get out of the car — I was such a drama queen.’” Episode #18: Bochu Ding ’21, rower and editor in chief of The Campus “[Middlebury has taught me] it’s OK to not have everything figured out. It’s fine to not necessarily know what you are doing, who your friends are, [or] what you are going to study. It’s okay to let that go — because you will find some sort of direction eventually.”Episode #19: Brett Pearlmutter ’24, men’s swimming and diving“I get to Middlebury, and it was pretty high up on my list to begin with — but I wasn’t necessarily sold. My host takes me back to the dorm and we see two of his friends in the hallway. And I say to them, ‘So what do you think of Middlebury?’ And without hesitation, [they say] ‘I love it, I absolutely adore this place.’ And what I found was literally the rest of the 24 hours I was there, every single person I talked to [said] ‘I love this place. This place is unbelievable. Yeah, it’s hard, but I don’t mind — I love the challenge.’ I left my recruit trip [thinking] this is the place for me.”Editor’s Note: Quotes have been lightly edited.
Michael McCormack’s ’20 graduate season with University of Vermont (UVM) men’s lacrosse came to a close this weekend, with UVM falling to University of Maryland in the first round of the NCAA tournament, 17–11. After graduating from Middlebury last spring, McCormack moved up to Burlington last fall to join the UVM men’s lacrosse team. Since he only played three seasons at Middlebury, McCormack still had NCAA eligibility and landed on the D-I Catamounts as a prime destination to continue his academic and athletic careers. After practicing through the fall and winter, McCormack and UVM finally played a competitive season this spring. In a record-breaking season, the Catamounts (9–5) won the American East tournament against University of Albany on May 8 — the first time UVM has earned that honor — and subsequently advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time. “It was one of our goals and something they thought was very possible,” McCormack said in an interview with The Campus. “And to actually do it this year for the first time was very special — it’ll be something we all remember for our entire lives. It’s a testament to the culture that our coaches have built and all the work we’ve put into the past year.” On Sunday, the Catamounts fell to #3 Maryland — a perennial national contender — in the tournament’s first round. While it snapped UVM’s fairytale run short, the team still exceeded expectations, with graduate player McCormack leading the way. With 44 total points behind 33 goals and 11 assists, McCormack ranked fourth in the team on points this season. For his efforts, McCormack was named to the Tewaaraton Watch List in April, an award that annually honors the top male and female lacrosse players in the country. Equivalent to the Heisman Trophy in college football, the award is the most sought-after individual distinction for collegiate lacrosse players. “It’s pretty prestigious,” McCormack said. “I guess now, looking back, it’s pretty cool to see how the countless hours have added up — it’s a testament to my teammates and coaching staff.” If anything, McCormack’s seamless tradition to the D-I sphere is a testament to his grit and determination. It also speaks volumes about the preparation he received with Middlebury’s D-III lacrosse program. “Given the fact that Middlebury wasn’t playing this year, I had guys who were really tuned into my season and reaching out a good amount,” McCormack said. “Obviously, Coach Campbell and Coach Fitzgerald pretty much reached out after every game — it’s pretty awesome to have that support system.” With the 2021 spring season in the books, the Massachusetts native is looking forward to spending more time exploring Burlington and hanging out with his teammates. Online classes and lacrosse have soaked up the majority of McCormack’s time since the fall, so as those demands relax, he’ll be able to enjoy some newfound free time. As for what’s next, McCormack isn’t quite sure. He’s still figuring out if he has any NCAA eligibility left, which, if that’s the case, could open up quite a few doors for one of the premier attackers in college lacrosse.
On the final episode of the academic year, Blaise welcomes Brett Perlmutter ’24, a member of men’s swim and dive, on the Siefer’s Scoop podcast. Perlmutter, a New York native, spent his freshman year at Middlebury in 2019-2020, though he’s currently taking a gap year. To begin the episode, we chat about Perlmutter’s gap year, discussing his jobs and what he’s learned. Next, Perlmutter explains how he landed at Middlebury, why he loves the school and how he manages the demands of a student-athlete lifestyle. The episode closes with an assortment of rapid-fire questions for Perlmutter, who reveals his favorite dining hall, his favorite activities at Middlebury and more. [embed]https://open.spotify.com/episode/4k6zroPPOx2Avdm09yo4YQ?si=aIMiPlBnTuOPJqGvJoFMvQ[/embed]
Despite a rookie-heavy roster this season, women’s tennis (4–3) exceeded expectations and finished second in the NESCAC West Division. Four of seven rostered players — including All-NESCAC singles players Amy Delman ’24 and Gena Huang ’24 — were freshmen this spring, as most sophomores and juniors took a gap semester. Delman, who played in the top spot for Middlebury this season, was named to the first team, while Huang earned second team honors with a 6-1 overall record. Kavina Amin ’24 and Sami Remis ’24 also compiled impressive rookie campaigns for the Panthers, finishing with a 3–3 and 4–3 overall record, respectively. “I am blown away by the freshmen’s performance,” senior co-captain Emily Bian ’21 told The Campus. “They really came out and exceeded my expectations by miles.” “I thought the freshman class did absolutely amazing,” head coach Rachel Kahan added. “Everyone came up big — to be able to perform under pressure was really fantastic.” Bian and Ann Martin Skelly ’21 were senior co-captains this season, primarily playing doubles together. Sophomore Caitlin Neal ’23 finished 3–3 on the season. The 2021 season spanned from April 10 to May 8 and included seven matches for the Panthers. Earlier this year, the chance of having a season was in doubt, so just being able to play was a huge bonus for the team. “Our team needed [the season],” Bian said. “There’s only so much you can practice and compete against each other. Putting our competitive energy against actual opponents was really great. I think the team will take away a lot from that. “It’s going to be a stacked team next year — I’m super excited to see where they will go,” Bian continued. “I think they are a team that has it all. I have high expectations and I have no doubt that they will reach them.”
Since the NESCAC lifted its ban on NCAA play before the 1993–94 season, Middlebury has won 38 National Championships in Division-III. In fact, between 1994 and 2019, there have only been six years where the Panthers haven’t won a national championship in at least one sport. Over the years, Middlebury has cultivated a tradition of athletic dominance across all 31 varsity teams. From men’s hockey to women’s soccer to men’s alpine skiing, Middlebury squads consistently rank in the upper echelon of Division-III athletics. Since 1994, eight different teams have won an NCAA National Championship, while most others have at least clinched NESCAC titles. But how is Middlebury’s athletic excellence celebrated? Are fan sections particularly big? Are they loud and rowdy? And what traditions do fans have, if any? The answers to those questions aren’t simple. In short, there are stark differences in fan support across sports. https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/dhFEV/5/ It’s hard to characterize these numbers as “good” or “bad,” but they begin to tell the story of fan support at Middlebury. Not only are some sports dramatically more popular than others, but there is a sizable gap between genders. The average fan attendance for men’s sports was 310 people in 2019 — excluding football — and 136 people for women’s teams. One way to measure the strength of these numbers is to compare our home attendance to that of other Division-III schools. By comparing home and away attendance records in 2019 – 20, it is clear that most Middlebury teams play in front of smaller crowds when at home than other schools do. In fact, only three Middlebury teams average more fans at home than away: men’s basketball, men’s hockey, and football. Keep in mind that Middlebury is one of the largest NESCAC schools, with over 2,500 students, and most non-conference games are played against other small, rural colleges. Therefore, there isn’t much of an excuse: our home fan attendance, for most sports, is well below average. https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/c8fvN/3/ “I think so much of athletic pride right now is friends of the players — and I think it's a great place to start but it can go further than that,” said Ellie Barney ’21.5, a four-year member of women’s hockey. “Let’s figure out how to boost that overall. Most people who go to Middlebury are athletic, outdoorsy and high-energy people, and there's no reason why that shouldn’t transfer into going to games. I think we can definitely improve on fan attendance.” “The challenge is getting more support from people who are not necessarily athletes,” women’s lacrosse head coach Kate Livesay ’03 emphasized. “It’s drawing more folks who don't have an immediate connection to the game.” As Athletic Director Erin Quinn ’86 notes, Middlebury students are “all busy” and “engaged in a lot of different activities.” Middlebury is also a Division-III school, so sports don’t attract the same crowds that nationally followed institutions like Clemson University, University of Alabama or Ohio State University might. But there’s room to improve regardless, and this sentiment is especially felt by student-athletes who attended high schools with large fan sections. Walker Coleman ’23, for example, is a member of men’s football who went to high school in South Carolina. There, attendance numbers are steep and fan support is a large component of school spirit. “It's definitely a change of scene for sure,” Coleman said. “At Midd, everyone’s a bit more tame. There are always a couple rowdy fans but it's definitely a big difference from high school. There’s not as much passion in the fan section as there was in high school.” Through the years, there have been efforts to improve fan attendance at Middlebury, though many of the proposed solutions have either fizzled out or completely failed. A few years ago, the Middlebury Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) designed an app to promote fan support by giving fans points for every game they attended. Fans could exchange points for prizes, such as Middlebury apparel. While the SAAC was confident in the structure of the app, plans eventually caved since the day-to-day management was too demanding. However, the idea is still cited by many athletes today, and many want to see more time invested into the app or a slight rebuild take shape. Other ideas to increase support include inter-team partnerships, where squads from different seasons will pair up and support one another throughout the year. The Athletics Department has pushed this initiative, and while it has been successful in some cases, Quinn notes that the best solutions will come from the students. “If student-athletes are really interested in trying to promote more fans, they have the best access to them — it's their peers they are trying to appeal to,” Quinn said. “Top-down administration efforts sometimes miss the mark, so [the effort] has to be organically student-driven.” Tailgating is one potential solution that students frequently suggest, though there’s more to that puzzle than most students understand. In fact, Middlebury has a troubled history with tailgates, causing Quinn and the administration to ban alcoholic beverages — and thus the typical concept of “tailgating” — in 2014. Quinn said there were repeated issues over a years-long span. “Tailgates really became an opportunity for large groups of students to probably have a place where they felt like they could have a large party without registering for it,” Quinn said. “That might be fine, but it got to the point where there was lots of damage, incredibly disrespectful behavior and it was over a period of years. We would have to assign several public safety members just to be in that area, and we didn’t have a professional event management crew.” Unlike other schools, Middlebury doesn’t have many, if any, traditions for fans, which also weighs down attendance numbers. One way to change this, according to Coleman, is by creating themes before big rivalry matches, such as wearing navy and white before a match against Williams or Amherst. Perhaps the most promising channel to grow support, though, is social media. Between Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and the many other platforms Middlebury students use, social media has emerged as the easiest way for students to communicate virtually. “I know Middlebury Athletics has a lot of followers on Instagram, and I would love to see Instagram stories promoting games,” women’s tennis co-captain Emily Bian ’21 said. “I honestly think that would work pretty well.” “There are so many Instagram accounts at Middlebury, so if we get a pretty wide fan base onto one Insagram account, I think that could be pretty serious, and we could really get people’s attention,” Coleman added. It’s important to note that while many athletes believe fan support can improve, many still harbor a strong sense of appreciation and fondness for the support they do receive. “At a school like Middlebury, it's so great because you know such a majority of people, even if it's not your closest friends,” Bian said. “It's like, ‘Oh, I recognize her from some Art History class. That’s cool that she’s sitting here and supporting my team.’ When I see people at tennis matches, it encourages me to attend other things as well — it's a domino effect.” “You play better when there are people in the stands,” Barney said. “That noise component is fun.” Some sports do attract larger crowds than others — like the football, men’s basketball and men’s hockey teams — where crowd sizes can reach into the thousands. For student-athletes competing in these sports, the appreciation for fans is particularly steep. “I'm super proud of the school spirit at Middlebury,” Tommy Eastman, a co-captain of men's basketball, said. “It makes it so much more fun. You feel like an important part of the community.” “Fan support and seeing your fellow classmates on the sidelines gives you a sense of legitimacy — like people are noticing your hard work,” Livesay added. “It gives friends a window into the hard work and sacrifice that goes into playing at a really high level. It's just fun to share this passion we have for lacrosse with other people.” With plans to return to a “new normal” next fall, fans will likely be permitted at all sporting events, affording students a chance to revive their Panther spirit. Livesay hopes this news will generate increased fan support at Middlebury – since students have been deprived of attending live events for so long — hopefully setting a precedent. “I feel like it's an exciting time because people haven’t been able to watch live sports in a long time,” Livesay said. “My hope, and almost expectation, is that we’ll see a lot more people in the fall because it's not something they’ve been able to do in a while. Let's hope there's a dramatic change there and that it's sustained in the future.”
Women’s tennis (4–3) couldn’t extend their winning streak to four on Saturday, losing to Williams, 5–4. After defeating the Ephs at home last weekend, Williams (2–3) earned the final laugh with their season-ending victory against the Panthers. While Middlebury started with an early 2–0 lead since Williams had insufficient numbers, the Ephs made it hard for the Panthers to accrue points all day. In doubles play, the Ephs captured two straight victories, beating Ann Martin Skelly ’21 and Emily Bian ’21 at the #1 slot, as well as rookie tandem Sami Remis ’24 and Amy Delman ’24 at slot #2. Gena Huang ’24 and Remis both won in singles play for the Panthers; for Huang, the win marked her fifth-straight singles win. The Ephs would win at #1, #4, and #5 singles, though, finding three more crucial points that sealed the win. “Obviously we wish we could’ve pulled out the 5–4 victory, but everyone played really well and put up a good fight,” Bian said postgame. “It's going to be a great learning experience for the freshman and sophomores so they can come back even more pumped up. Sometimes you learn more from losing a match than winning.” Bian and Skelly wrapped up their four-year careers on Saturday, with the co-captains set to graduate in the coming weeks.
There’s a new diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) program coming to the Middlebury Athletics Department: M+. A five-year program slated to debut in fall 2022, M+ connects the many organizations and initiatives that currently facilitate DEI initiatives on campus while adding an enhanced educational component to the student-athlete experience. “The idea of M+ isn’t new at all,” Athletic Director Erin Quinn ’86 told The Campus. “It was a matter of codifying, if you will. If we create this M+ logo and initiative, then it codifies [our DEI goals] and makes them more tangible.” Collaboration across the NESCAC schools on DEI education has ballooned in recent months, helping constituents build their respective DEI programs. One example of a program similar to M+ is Amherst LEADS, a program founded at Amherst College. There are other ingredients to M+ that are still being solidified, including an education program that will encompass three learning groups: student-athletes, teams and staff. Athletes, for example, will engage with a four-year DEI curriculum during their Middlebury career, while coaches will undertake similar instruction and learn how to facilitate conversations about race, privilege and inequality with their teams. “There’s some standard stuff to make sure there’s a baseline of work being done, but then lots of space for teams to focus their energies on particular issues that might be of importance to them,” Quinn said. “We want a more balanced experience across all teams and across all years.” In the past academic year alone, Middlebury has expanded its DEI education on campus. The Athletics Department offered optional anti-racism workshops in the fall, winter and spring, attracting hundreds of student-athletes to each session. The workshops were taught by Andrew Plumley ’11, a former men’s lacrosse and football player at Middlebury. These anti-racism workshops, along with other ongoing initiatives, are present manifestations of M+. While the program won’t be officially introduced until the fall of 2022, Quinn and the Athletics Department aren’t waiting to provide necessary DEI education to their student-athletes. This week, for example, Middlebury Athletics is highlighting the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Throughout the week, each team will have conversations about BLM, tacking on additional efforts that will vary by team. For instance, some squads are planning on practicing with BLM T-shirts on, while others are considering a solidarity walk on campus. From the anti-racism workshops to the current focus on BLM, the “soft launch” of M+ started this year, according to Quinn. “We’re flying the airplane as we’re building it,” he said. More information is expected to be released in the coming months.