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Despite support, concussed students face pressures

in News by

One in five high school students who play contact sports suffer a concussion each year, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. To facilitate recovery of concussed students, Swarthmore has a Concussion Team in place to support injured students. However, concussion symptoms still pose significant challenges for students, as they affect academic performance, physical well being, social interactions, and mental health.  

According to a 2014 NCAA report,  13.1 percent of female NCAA athletes and 19.4 percent of male NCAA athletes self-reported as having incurred one or more concussions during their collegiate career.

Courtney Caolo ’21, a member of the Women’s Lacrosse team, is one of those students. This May, a player on a competing team body-slammed her from the side during a lacrosse game, causing her to fall over. She continued playing and did not notice any symptoms until two hours later, when she tried to drive herself home and felt shooting pains down her neck.

“It wasn’t that bad of a fall, but I had gotten a concussion the same way the previous year, so I think that’s what caused it to be that bad again,” Caolo said. “It was the same kind of whiplash.”

Since the beginning of the fall semester, 20 students have reported having concussions. According to Holland, three of them were diagnosed with concussions at the Health and Wellness Center. During the 2016-2017 academic year, 42 reported there with concussion symptoms. According to Sakumura, ten have been cleared and ten continue to work with her  and the college’s Concussion Team, which also includes the sports medicine department for student-athletes and director of student of health and wellness Alice Holland for other students. According to Holland, health care providers administer post-concussive symptom scales and physical assessments to students who come in with a concussion to determine how to care for them over time.

“If emergent care is not warranted, special attention is given to stage of healing, social activity, academic activity and athletic activity,” Holland said in an email. “Students are educated on pain management, nutrition, and stress reduction to aid in their recovery.”

Caolo has not yet been cleared. She communicated primarily with Michelle Ray, current interim Title IX director, before the responsibility shifted to Sakomura.

“When a student has a concussion, I reach out to professors and then the student,” Sakomura said. “Once I communicate with the student, the student comes in and then we have a one-on-one conversation about what kind of classes they’re in, what kind of jobs they have, and … how best to navigate the situation because they have this injury.”

According to Caolo, she communicated with Sakomura often throughout her first few weeks of school as she adjusted to the demands of her course load: Biology 001, Chem 010, Art History and Economics.

“The first few weeks when we were still trying to figure everything out, it was really stressful, but I sat down with each of my professors and they all told me, ‘The best thing for you is not to be stressed out about work and just to focus on getting better,’” Caolo said.

However, concussion symptoms can change quickly, requiring flexible recovery plans and accommodations.

“There was one Friday where I had a bio quiz and a chem test,” Caolo said. “I was okay the beginning of that week and then the rest of that week, I just really wasn’t feeling well, to the point where I really wasn’t walking around much, so by probably midweek I was getting really worried, like, ‘I’m not going to have enough time to study for this,’ or even, ‘I’m not sure if I can take both tests in one day.’”

With help from Sakomura, she was able to take one of her tests later. But without yet having official paperwork from student disability services, her professors could not give her extra time during tests until a week later.

“If professors don’t have anything that’s official, it’s hard for them to just make accommodations, because they just really can’t,” Caolo said. “I know that even when I was meeting with dean Sakomura, she was worried about disability services taking a while to get the paperwork done, so that might have been a concern in the past for some people, but I didn’t really have an issue with it.”

According to assistant director of student disability services Jenna Rose, extended testing time, quiet testing environments, and extended deadlines for class assignments are accommodations that SDS commonly authorizes for concussed students.

For many Swarthmore students with concussions, their main concerns are about not falling behind in class and keeping up their grades.

“Luckily my professors are really understanding and I was able to get some tests moved and some papers extended,” Caolo said. “But there [were] a good two weeks when it was really rough trying to schedule all my work in and making sure that I wasn’t pushing myself over the edge.”

In addition, everyday campus activities like getting meals add to the difficulty of having a concussion.

“It’s not easy, especially because there’s no time when you can really rest,” Caolo said. “It’s not like high school, where you can just take the week off of school. You just kind of always have to be going to stuff and always walking around and always going to get food so it’s kind of difficult, moving around when you don’t even feel like sitting up, but it’s been manageable so far.”

Sakomura emphasized that concussed students, however heavy their course loads, need to prioritize rest.

“It’s very tricky because stress can contribute to the concussion not healing in time and students also want to do really well academically in class, so there’s always this struggle,” Sakomura said. “We always try to help the student not to worry so much because that can contribute to the symptoms. It’s really hard not to stress, of course, but really, rest needs to come first.”

Lydia Koku ’18, who was injured in February 2017 and experienced concussion symptoms until May, described the stress that their concussion caused them.

“Having a concussion intensified my spring semester but simultaneously forced me to prioritize my well-being first,” Koku said in an email. “I withdrew from one of my required Honors seminars because I could not keep up with the demands of the course and yet continued to struggle with my three remaining courses. These academic stressors were accompanied by persistent anxieties about whether I would be able to graduate on time and with Honors.”

Some of the lesser-known symptoms of concussions, which fall outside of the domain of dean Sakomura and the Worth Health Center, are emotional issues such as nervousness, mood changes, irritability, and sadness, according to the CDC. According to ‘Scientific American,’ an established science journal, head injuries increase the risk of mental illness. Concussions often intensify mental health issues present before the injury and sometimes cause new issues to arise. For Koku, the pain and long recovery time she experienced led to increased depression.

“This weakened internal locus of control intensified my depression over the course of the injury and afterwards,” they said. “Due to my experience, I now understand the heightened importance of self-care and attempt to infuse patience into my daily life.”

Both Holland and Rose mentioned Counseling and Psychological Services as the resource for students with mental health issues. CAPS provides free, voluntary,  and confidential psychological counseling to students, among other services. For Koku, this has been helpful.

“I love CAPS and go every week,” they said.

On top of these concerns, the physical symptoms of concussions, especially constant fatigue and sensitivity to light and loud noises, can inhibit social interactions. Caolo described her experience recovering from a concussion during the first few weeks of freshman year.

“Especially in the beginning of the year I was like, ‘I really don’t feel like myself, so it’s going to be really weird trying to make friends when I don’t even feel like me,’” Caolo said. “You’re not as outgoing or as bubbly and can’t really stay your normal self just because you’re very tired all the time and [your] head is hurting all the time … I really can’t go to anything that’s very loud, which is an issue because that’s most social events.”

Despite these challenges, Caolo was able to attend all of her class sessions the first half of the semester, and with her accommodations, she was able to improve her grades from the first round of tests. She feels that her professors and the faculty with which she communicated helped her significantly.

“It’s actually been a lot easier,” Caolo said. “When I went to go take the next round of tests, it was definitely better with the accommodations.”

Koku also feels that the Swarthmore Concussion Team effectively assured their recovery.

“I could not have asked for a better support system,” they said. “Deans and faculty alike advocated for my continuation at Swarthmore and helped me plan to complete my coursework on time. Professors were accommodating with extensions if I advocated for myself.”

Sakomura feels that the interdepartmental Concussion Team contributes significantly to the efficacy of concussion treatments.

“I’d really like to celebrate the fact that the team around concussions is one example of different divisions at the college working together, and I think that’s really rare, and it’s really lovely,” she said.

Though concussions create additional hurdles and challenges for college students, faculty and staff collaborating and handling concussions with flexibility and understanding can alleviate lasting effects on academic performance and personal health.

Swarthmore sports fall break update

in Sports by

While most Swarthmore students were at home enjoying fall break and reconnecting with family and friends, many of the varsity sports teams stayed on campus to continue their seasons, or begin preparations for their upcoming year. While both soccer teams, field hockey, and volleyball continued Centennial Conference play, both the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams returned to campus early to prepare for their winter seasons. The ten-day break proved to be an eventful one on campus for many of these teams, filled with games, practices, preparations, and team bonding activities.

Last year the Men’s Basketball team boasted an unprecedented 23-6 record, which included a Centennial Conference championship and a bid to play in the NCAA Division III tournament. The team ended up winning their first game in the NCAA tournament, but narrowly lost to Christopher Newport University in the second round of the tournament by a score of 77-67. This was the first time in Swarthmore history that the men’s team reached the NCAA tournament, prompting huge fan turnout at both the conference games, as well as the NCAA tournament games. After graduating only three seniors and retaining three of five starters, the team looks to build on last year’s success. Over fall break, the team participated in a workout and team building regiment called “The Program” that incorporated the new first-years. The Garnet are lead by Swarthmore men’s basketball’s first All-American, Cam Wiley ’19, along with stars Zack Yonda ’18 and Robbie Walsh ’18. The men’s team opens their season up on Nov. 15 with a home game against Hood College.

The Women’s Basketball team looks to bounce back this year after experiencing a disappointing season last winter. The team returned to campus on Thursday to begin their new season, with three first-years joining 11 returning players. Head coach Renee DeVarney returns for her 13th season, and she will be joined by new assistant coach Brianne Camden. They have their season opener at home against Widener College on Nov. 15.

The Women’s Soccer team has been having an extremely memorable season as they improved their record to 12-3 over the fall break. The Garnet lost their first game to Johns Hopkins but quickly turned it around and won their two following games against Bryn Mawr and Gettysburg.  Marin McCoy ’19 led the team with two goals in the win against Bryn Mawr. The Garnet are now ranked 20th in all of Division III and look to continue their stellar play as they face off against Haverford this Saturday.

The Men’s Soccer team played four matches over the fall break period, losing three and drawing one. The team holds a record of 4-9-3 so far, which is similar to last year’s record of 7-10-1. The team played their senior match against Gettysburg College, honoring four seniors: Omadayo Origunwa, Michael Nafziger, Tommy Sheehan, and Ryan Ward. While the Garnet will miss out on playoff action yet again, the team hopes to build next year with a strong nucleus of underclassmen. The team will finish up their regular season this Saturday at Haverford in a rivalry match.

The Field Hockey team, with a record of 7-9, look to end their season on a positive note in their final two games. Fall break marked a rough stretch of the season for the Garnet, as they are on a three-game losing streak. Last week, the team had their Senior Day, honoring Ellory Laning, Clare Perez, Amy Gilligan, Jane Blicher, Nicole Phalen, and Sierra Spencer. They will finish their season against Centennial Conference rival Haverford on Saturday.

The volleyball team continues to be a highlight of the Swarthmore athletics program, as they have a record of 18-6 so far, with a 7-2 Centennial Conference record. The team narrowly lost last year in the Centennial Conference final to Johns Hopkins, and are looking to try and avenge that loss in the playoffs this year. Over fall break, the Garnet won three out of their four games, losing narrowly to Johns Hopkins in five sets. Sarah Girard 19, Emma Morgan-Bennett 20, and Mehra den Braven 20 continue to be standouts for the team, and have so far been leaders on the floor. The team finishes their regular season against Haverford on Saturday, as they look to close out the season in style and ready themselves for the Centennial Conference playoffs.

Field Hockey Thriving Under Coach Allison

in Fall/Season/Sports/Women by

If you happen to be by the athletic fields on a Tuesday morning, you will most likely catch a glimpse of Swarthmore’s Field Hockey team starting their day off with a 6 a.m. practice. It is this type of commitment that has contributed to their recent and unprecedented success. Having won six out of their last 10 games, Field Hockey has already won more games this season than in any other since 2012. The Garnet’s success can also be attributed to their new coach, Hannah Allison, who brings a refreshing new coaching style and a positive outlook for the team’s 2017 season.

Ellory Laning 18 shared her thoughts on her new coach and impact she has already had, and will continue to have, on the program.

“I think that we’ve always seen ourselves as a strong and talented team, but Coach Allison has dedicated a lot of practice time to helping us recognize where we break down and what has been preventing us from applying our strengths in games, which has greatly improved our play and helped us to connect and function as a united team,” she said.

Under Allison’s coaching, the Garnet have already won more Conference games this season than they have in the last four seasons. This newfound success must be attributed both to Allison’s coaching as well as her team’s ability to adapt and thrive under her new coaching style. This new coaching style focuses on the positives, creating a different team dynamic on the field. Instead of yelling when her athletes make mistakes, Allison tries to make each mistake a learning experience.

“I look forward to practices a lot more this season because I feel like I learn so much from them, as well as games. I think we just feel more confident playing our opponents this year knowing that we have a shot at winning,” said Zelda Bank 19.

The team have connected both on and off the field and all the players have really stepped up, especially the five first-years. Chelsea Semper ’21, who already feels like she has grown as a player under the guidance of Coach Allison, thinks that the team can became a competing force in the Centennial Conference.

“I’m really excited to see the program continue to grow this season and gain more respect in our conference. I’m thrilled to be a part of the group that is positively impacting the Swat Field Hockey program and helping turn it into a team that shouldn’t be taken lightly,” she said.

Having always been supportive and communicative, the Field Hockey team is making major headway in their level of confidence and winning mentality that will help them become a team to be reckoned with. Lizzy Stant ’19 gave some insight on a Centennial rival that she really wants to beat this year.

“John Hopkins! We had a tight game against them last year, and with our improvements over the past year we’d all love to bring them an even better game this year! We want to continue to improve in the conference and make other teams respect us and fear us! I believe in our ability to be able to do that this year more than ever before,” she said.

Field Hockey seems poised this year for their strongest season since 2012. With a new coach and new outlook on both practices and games, the team is set to grow and could be a solid contender in the Centennial Conference. While their much-anticipated game against John Hopkins is an away game on Oct. 14, Field Hockey faces Oneonta on Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. on Clothier Field.

Statement on kneeling during anthem

in Open Letter/Opinions by

Dear Friends,

This past week, President Trump released several tweets chastising athletes who have not stood during the national anthem as well as those who have declined White House invitations. His blanket critique speaks to a reckless pattern of racist sentiment that now endangers the very diversity that America is built upon. Our country’s history suffers from the remnants of massacred Native Americans, enslaved Africans, discriminated against Latinx Americans, persecuted Muslims, economically marginalized Whites, and others disenfranchised by American society. Our own grandparents — some of whom are proud American military veterans — recollect stories of lynchings, church bombings, and police brutality. As young women, we fear a future in which our children will not come home for dinner because they have been assailed or shot in the streets simply for being black or brown.

We are patriotic Americans who value our freedoms to speak against injustices. President Trump struggles to recognize that to be patriotic might at times also require dissent. Our Founding Fathers acknowledged that as much as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did. Patriotism and dissent are not mutually exclusive; America’s greatness is manifest in love and equality for all, not hate and privilege. Thus, in solidarity with athletes and activists around the country who have taken a knee in hopes of addressing a long-standing and systematic pattern of racial violence aimed at brown and black people, we feel compelled to join this action. As black athletes, we especially understand the hateful perception of our bodies as valuable on the court, but disposable on the streets.

We invite all athletes and spectators to express solidarity with a movement that believes America can do better.

Trust in our love and faith in our country. Trust when we question an America that does not afford all its citizens security and safety. Only when we address the disease of white supremacy and racial injustice, can we truly become, as our anthem states, the land of the free. Today we kneel because this sense of security remains unattainable for the average young brown and black person walking or driving in their neighborhoods; today we kneel to honor the brown and black lives lost to violence, and to remind ourselves that none of us can truly be free until we all are.


In solidarity,


Emma Morgan-Bennett ’20 and Lelosa Aimufua ’20

An Athlete’s Perspective on Athletic Attendance

in Columns/Sports by

It’s doubtful that a Big Ten-esque, tailgate Saturday, type of environment was a top priority in the college decision making process for most Swatties. None of us opened our Swarthmore acceptance letter and immediately had visions of being in a crowd of students, decked out in Garnet gear, cheering wildly on the sidelines of some sporting event. However, most games, meets, and matches only boast a turnout of about 1 to 2 percent of the student body. This means that there is often a ratio of only 1 Swarthmore student spectator to student competitor. With twenty-two varsity teams, roughly 20 percent of our student body participates in NCAA athletics. This indicates that even athletes from other sports rarely show their support in the form of watching each other’s events.

Women’s Volleyball, who have been celebrating a lot of wins this season, had a game this past Saturday afternoon. There couldn’t have been more than twenty-five Swatties in the stands. While Women’s Soccer (currently nationally ranked at number ten in the country) is probably the most consistently attended fall sport, the bleachers are still rarely full.

The biggest exception to the low sporting events turn out were last year’s Men’s Basketball team conference championship games, which were held at home. Attendance at these games was highly encouraged by the administration. Robbie Walsh ʼ18 confessed that what stood out to him most about the stands last winter was how hard people cheered, and he recognized the excitement that comes with being a fan at a sports game, especially with being so close to the action in basketball. When asked about the unusual turnout at conference games, which he admits is the best since he has played for the Garnet, Walsh had a good guess.

“We had a successful year the season before, and [we] continued to build off that and won games, so more people kept coming,” said Walsh. Perhaps there was something about the notoriety of the team that made more people talk about Swat sports and feel motivated to go watch and cheer at an event.

Or maybe it was the fact that the games were well-advertised. We all know how easy it is to get caught up in our busy schedules, classwork and extracurriculars, and usually the furthest thing from a student’s mind is looking for a way to fill up an hour or two of their evenings or Saturday afternoons. Aside from the occasional Sharples cup-drop announcement or an @swatathletics Instagram post, the lack of spectators at games is probably due the majority of Swatties, athletes or otherwise, not knowing or thinking about what teams are competing when.

Many groups on campus advertise their events on the Dash or on bulletin boards, or even just by word of mouth.While some players on sports teams might mention to their friends that they have a game later that day and extend an invitation, they are usually not seen taping up a “Game: 7 p.m at the Fieldhouse” poster in the Science Center. In fact, most athletes seem to confine most of their talk about their sport within the friendships and conversations they have with their teammates, which, while understandable, makes it even less probable that word will be spread about their upcoming competitions.

I think last year’s basketball tournament displayed one of the most salient examples of community and school spirit, and it’s a shame that instances like those only happen every so often when the opportunities for them are frequent. Sports are just one of the many ways for this campus to come together and support one another. So next time you’re sitting near a Field Hockey player in Chem lecture, ask her when her next game is, spread the word to a few friends, and take a study break!

The modernization of the pitcher

in Columns/Sports by

One day in the summer of 2015, I found myself on a seemingly endless three hour drive from my home in Washington, DC to Atlantic City, MD. The old pitching hermit my dad said we were meeting to work with awaited at the other side. After the excruciating drive through cornfields, woods, and unpaved roads, we finally arrived at a ramshackle pitching facility in an abandoned warehouse in the woods. Upon meeting the man and paying three hundred dollars for his “advanced arm care program,” I found myself seriously questioning the legitimacy of this man‘s renown baseball tutelage. However, for the next three hours, I found myself undergoing one of the most physically challenging baseball and weight programs I have ever seen. Rejuvenated by the strenuous day and expert refinement, I took on the program as a long-term project to improve my endurance, arm strength, and velocity as a pitcher.

For all of those who are not familiar with baseball, the sport seems to lack much physical ability between standing for large periods of time and the endless flow of sunflower seeds, bubble gum, and Gatorade. However, the athletic ability required throughout the game derives from a far greater technical basis. Particularly at the position of pitcher, quite arguably the most important in the game, the combination of brute strength, endurance, and mental toughness make the prospects of success for the average person quite slim. On top of that, the risk of detrimental injury as a pitcher remains quite high as the constant wear and tear weakens the tendons and muscles in the arm irreparably. Taking a further step past basic arm care, to be more competitive, pitchers constantly seek to improve their arm strength such that they can throw faster — a process that can add even more stress to the developing arm.

Therefore, from Little League to the MLB (Major League Baseball), the never-ending question of how to care for pitchers physically encounters constant scrutiny. At the most basic levels, coaches generally restrain their young pitchers to pitch limits, such that the children can grow and potentially be more successful when games matter more. However, beyond that, the biological facts and baseball folklore constantly intertwine to create a confusing mashup of eclectic training styles, all with varying degrees of success. Unfortunately, for many professionals, the pressure to succeed debilitates their mental preparations, thereby affecting their performance on the field. However, for others, the same strive to succeed leads to cheating whether through performance-enhancing drugs, altered equipment, or some other means. Therefore, this topic widely and dramatically affects the play of the game and the culture of the sport.

Here at Swarthmore, the baseball program generally follows a strict arm care regimen to combat the constant strain undertaken in the rigor of games. The seven-day workout schedule generally consists of only a few days of actual throwing, supplemented with other drills — weighted balls, elastic Jaeger band work, sprinting, hip mobility exercises, and long-distance running among a slew of others. However, on top of these workouts, each pitcher has their own individual style to caring for their arm, ranging from unique throwing drills to holding towels as they throw. The culmination of this has resulted in a relativelyhealthy and successful pitching staff. The general arm care of pitchers at all levels of talent and competition is an extremely important science.

However, just as baseball statistics have expanded in their breadth and analysis, so too has this arm care science modernized to better aid the pitcher. Similar to football’s current issue with concussion technology and minimizing the damage to the brain through the daily rigor of the sport, baseball too must come to terms with its rapidly increasing arm injury problem that takes away the bright futures of so many young pitchers. Simply sitting in a discussion between a trainer with the Philadelphia Phillies organization and the Swarthmore pitching staff, it became quite clear that many pitchers actually had been taught incorrect and potentially harmful methods in the past for strengthening and caring for their arm.

Two young MLB superstar prospects, Baltimore Orioles’ Dylan Bundy and Cleveland Indians’ Trevor Bauer, who played an integral role in their respective teams’ playoff runs last year, both swear by the science of Alan Jaeger (whose elastic band workouts Swarthmore baseball uses extensively). Both pitchers have thrown upwards of 100 miles per hour during certain drills with impressive success, but Bundy has undergone the fated Tommy John surgery, calling into question the legitimacy of their long-distance throwing program. Others swear by modern tactics such as biometrics, as Swarthmore baseball implemented via a University of Pennsylvania initiated science lab, or more old-fashioned lifting and running techniques. Nevertheless, the combination of these large scientific progressions with the individual flair of baseball players everywhere has created a sport far more aware of the injuries and care necessary to be successful in the sport.

However, not only has biomedical progress aided the plight of the modern pitcher, but psychology has made leaps and bounds in the field of high-pressure performance. It is often described of pitchers that they control the game entirely, as their performance sets the tone for the rest of the game. That high intensity, coupled with being the center of attention on each played, can debilitate even the most talented of pitchers with one fell swoop. Recently, former professional pitcher Rick Ankiel published a memoir, in which he admitted to drinking vodka before games to calm the nerves of being the main actor on baseball’s biggest stage. At the same time, it is also rumored that legendary ace, Dock Ellis, even pitched a no-hitter on LSD. On account of all of this mental stress, psychologists now have calming techniques for these pitchers in high-intensity situations that let them slow the game down, focus better, and perform at a far higher level.

All of this scientific empirical evidence just adds to the rhetoric already surrounding the betterment of pitcher performance. In the rapidly modernizing world, the game has sought to keep up with the technology and speed of daily life, and the arm and mental care of pitchers has been just one facet of this initiative. It has enabled pitchers to come more prepared to succeed and stay healthy, and has altered the game for the best. Hopefully at Swarthmore, the bright future scholars we produce will further the progress already made thus far.

Tennis serves it up in sunny SoCal

in Columns/Sports by

While most of campus enjoyed a break off from school, the nationally ranked Swarthmore Men’s Tennis team hit the road, stopping in Virginia and then flying to California to compete against some of the top Division III tennis teams in the country.

Last year, the Garnet spent most of their spring break in the Pacific Northwest at the Whitman Invitational, largely taking on schools from California, Washington, and Oregon. The trip was for the most part a success. Wins over California Lutheran University and Lewis and Clark College prepared the Garnet for a season that included a 15-6 record and a Centennial Conference Tournament Finals appearance. Mostly, the spring break trip was used as an opportunity for the Garnet to challenge themselves against unfamiliar opposition in an entirely different part of the country.

The team graduated two seniors last year, and recruited three freshman, Max Gruber ’20 of Iowa City, Iowa, William Teoh ’20 of Duluth, Georgia, and Kevin Xu ’20 of Princeton, New Jersey.

The Garnet, who are ranked 29th nationally by the NCAA, started their eventful 2017 spring break in Lexington, Virginia against Washington and Lee University, who are ranked 38th nationwide. The Garnet dropped the match by a 3-6 score, but notched wins at first doubles, third singles, and sixth singles. Highlights of the match included Kevin Xu’ 20’s win at sixth singles. They continued their trip in a neutral site match against another nationally ranked opponent, Sewanee: The University of the South, another team ranked in the top 30. Swarthmore’s doubles teams won on the day, but the team was swept in the singles lineup.

The team then headed to Southern California, in hopes for a final spring tuneup in warm weather before a return to Conference play. The Garnet fell to the 18th ranked University of Redlands, and then, in a split squad match, fell to Cerritos College, and the 6th ranked co-op team of the Claremont Colleges (Claremont McKenna and Harvey Mudd). On Friday, March 10, the Garnet picked up their first win of the year, beating Glendale College 6-3. Subsequently, the team concluded their California road trip with losses to top 10 nationally ranked opponents, Pomona-Pitzer, and Carnegie Mellon in Claremont, California.

Teoh reflected on his experiences on the spring break trip.

“The experience was unique because it really gave us a chance to bond off the court and outside of the classroom as well, particularly as a new freshman. I definitely became closer with the guys, and Coach Mullan too. Along with tennis, we also visited Manhattan Beach where Evan Han’s family hosted us.”

Teoh also commented on his takeaways from the difficult results from the trip.

“Some of the major takeaways from this trip from a team perspective is that things won’t always go our way and we will make mistakes. Instead of worrying about results on a trip like this, we should worry about what we can control. A lot of the matches didn’t end the way we wanted, but we definitely learned that results on the court should not affect our lives off the court. We still enjoyed the trip regardless of the results.”

Finally, Teoh addressed the difficult schedule the Garnet faced over their break.

“Playing 4 teams in the top 15 in the country was very difficult, but our guys feel very prepared for conference matches now. We now know what level we want to play at. At this point, we will only get better and we are still motivated to make NCAA’s and win as many matches as possible.”

Teoh and the other Garnet tennis players are looking to replicate their success from last season. The spring break trip to Virginia and California challenged the team against some of the best teams in the nation, while giving them a nice break from being on campus. They open Centennial Conference play with an away match against Gettysburg on Saturday, March 25 at 1pm.

After slow start, baseball bounces back strong

in Columns/Sports by

After a slow start losing two doubleheaders to open up the season, the Baseball team bounced back over spring break in Fort Myers, Florida. The team flew south for their annual trip the first Saturday of spring break to escape the cold. After seven days of sunshine, the team returned with an overall record of 6-8, going 6-4 in Florida. Over 100 Division III baseball and softball teams from across the United States headed to Fort Myers to compete in the annual Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic. The tournament is a memorial for Cusic, a former Lee County Parks and Rec athletics manager and baseball fan. Established 26 years ago, the classic has expanded tremendously, originally having just 11 teams. Other Conference teams to attend this tournament included Gettysburg and Haverford.

The Garnet baseball team faced a packed schedule with 10 games in just six days. The trip began on an incredible high note with a walk-off win in extra innings in their first game on Sunday. Jared Gillen ’20 drove in the game winning run for the Garnet to defeat Rivier College in extra innings. The team lost a doubleheader on Monday to Defiance College and rallied to finish 4-2 in their next 6 games, defeating Hiram College, Rockford University, Baruch College and the United States Coast Guard Academy. One of the team’s losses was to Alvernia University who is currently ranked 23rd in the nation in Division III.

Other notable performances came from Conor Elliott ’19 and Cole Beeker ’20 at the plate, as well as Ryan Warm ’20 on the mound who, despite the loss, had a strong pitching performance against Alvernia. Elliot and Beeker lead the team with batting averages of .383 and .367 respectively.

Despite the busy schedule, the team was able to get some rest and relaxation during their spring break. Fort Myers is the spring training home of both the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins, offering a great opportunity to see some Major League Baseball. The team saw the Minnesota Twins defeat the Toronto Blue Jays before returning to Swarthmore on Friday to conclude their spring break trip.

Up next for the Garnet is a home doubleheader against Penn State Berks on March 18th after their game scheduled for March 14 against Eastern was canceled due to weather. Centennial Conference play will begin April 1 against Johns Hopkins University, who was picked to finish first in the conference coaches poll. The Garnet, who were picked to finish 10th in the same coaches poll, must make a strong conference play campaign to reach the Centennial Conference playoffs.

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