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Swat Athletics puts together another strong year

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If it wasn’t obvious already, many of the varsity teams on campus played exceptionally well across the board, making for an overall strong year for athletics. The athletics program as a whole seems to have improved dramatically over the last two to three years, with some teams displaying historic performances.  Most of Swat’s historically strong teams were able to repeat their dominance in the Centennial Conference, while other up-and-coming teams have started to draw serious attention.

After the baseball team finished 6-11-1 in the Centennial Conference just two years ago, they more than doubled their conference win total this year, going 15-3 –– good enough for first place in the Conference. Currently at 29 wins with the Conference tournament still to be played, the team shattered the highest single-season win record of 27 games set in 1985. Outfielder Charlie Levitt ’19 set the college’s single-season home run record and currently leads the conference with eight. Designated Hitter Jackson Roberts ’19 is slugging .643, which would put him seventh all-time in the school’s record books. First Baseman Cole Beeker’s 54 runs batted in blow away the school record of 46. Outfielder Jared Gillen’s 14 doubles put him at second all-time. Pitcher Jack Corkery ’20 has earned seven saves, also good enough to tie the school record. For the second time in school history, the baseball team will appear in the Centennial Conference tournament and will host the tournament for the first time.

The softball team also made a notable jump in performance this year, winning seven games in conference, their highest total since 2010. Several members of the team put up video-game numbers on the season. Infielders Emilie Morse ’20 and Marit Vike ’19 batted .413 and .411, both of which will be placed  top ten in the record books for average in a single season. Catcher Kennedy Kings ’20 wasn’t far behind, hitting .381 and blasting a homer. Vike’s 29 runs and 45 hits will also place her in the top 10 in Swarthmore’s record books. The pitching staff were also outstanding in the circle this year, managing a 2.46 team earned run average. Emily Bowman ’18 posted a 2.20 ERA on the season, also good enough to sneak into the top 10 in school history.

The men’s basketball team put together another historic run this season, coming in first place in the conference after going 15-3. Kosmalski’s Kids went deep into the N.C.A.A. Tournament, falling to Springfield College in the Elite 8. They finished the season as the 14th ranked team in the country. Guard Cam Wiley’s 488 points this season put him at sixth in the record books for the most points in a single season. Wiley earned first-team All-Conference this season. However, that doesn’t bother him too much, as he already owns the top spot after scoring 537 last year. Guard Zack Yonda ’18 ends his career with 1,522 points, good for fifth all-time. Yonda also made second-team All-Conference. Forward Robbie Walsh ’18 made 187 blocks, good for second all-time, barely missing the first place mark of 193. Forward Zac O’Dell ’20 received Honorable Mention.

As usual, women’s soccer reminded the rest of the teams who runs the Centennial Conference. After going 15-4-2 overall and 7-2-1 in conference play, the Garnet triumphed over Haverford and Johns Hopkins in the Centennial tournament, and went home champions. Marin McCoy ’19 was unstoppable, leading the Conference in goals, assists, points, and shots. With still an entire season left to play, McCoy holds the record for most points, goals, and assists in a career in school history. McCoy, along with Katie Dougherty ’18 and Yasmeen Namazie ’19, also took home first-team All-Conference awards. Redshirt senior Hannah Lichtenstein won second-team All-Conference, and Lizzie King ’21 took home Honorable Mention. To top it off, McCoy also took home conference Player of the Year. The Garnet finished the season ranked No. 21 nationwide.

After showcasing what may have been the greatest feat in Swarthmore Athletics last year, the men’s swim team continued their success in conference play. After finishing second in the conference, the squad put six members on All-Conference teams, including fourth-year Alejandro Hernandez, third-years Michael Lutzker, Chris Smith, Jeffrey Tse, and Charles Yang, and lastly first-year Alec Menzer, who also took home Rookie of the Year. Lutzker and Menzer went on to compete at Nationals. Collegeswimming.com put the Garnet as the 25th ranked team in the country.

The women’s swim team also finished in second in the conference. They have continued to improve year in and year out. Just two years ago, the team went 3-4 in conference and finished at a modest fifth place in the Conference championship. They are definitely a team that could break out next season. With a small senior class, the squad will surely be returning a lot of key members. The women’s squad put five members onto All-Conference teams, including fourth-year Maggie Eberts, third-year Scout Clark, second-year Clare Cushing, and first-years Hannah Kloetzer and Sophia Lee. Kloetzer qualified for the NCAA Nationals for three different swims, with her best finishing coming at 26th in the country in the 1,650 free. Collegeswimming.com had the women’s squad at 36th overall in the country.

The men’s tennis team is continuing their tradition of excellence this season. The team just finished up the Conference season at 8-1 and are currently ranked 16th in the country. The team have done an excellent job of competing against other ranked opponents this season. The squad have earned victories against Washington and Lee, Whitman, Sewanee, and Mary Washington, all of which are top 35 in the country. The dynamic duo of Mark Fallati ’18 and Josh Powell ’18 continue to give teams a hard time. The doubles team are regionally ranked third, and lead the conference with 14 wins. By himself, Fallati is also leading the conference in wins and is ranked 6th regionally. They play Haverford in the Conference tournament this week.

Women’s tennis has been equally strong in conference this season. Their 9-1 effort is good enough for second in the conference. They also play Haverford in the Conference tournament this week. Although the team have just barely fallen off the national rankings, they sit at an impressive eigth regionally.  During spring break, the team earned a win against the 31st ranked team in the country Millsaps College. The women’s team also have a strong doubles team in Emma Kassan ’20 and Anna Scheibmeir ’18, who are 11-7 overall and 8-0 in conference.

Women’s Volleyball went 8-2 in conference and lost the championship game to Johns Hopkins. However, the season was nowhere near over for them. After qualifying for the N.C.A.A. Tournament, the team went on to win their first three games, beating No. 10 Carnegie Mellon, then getting their sweet revenge against No. 12 Johns Hopkins in the Sweet 16. The Garnet finished in the Elite 8, falling to #3 Wittenberg. The Garnet were ranked 18th in the country, but they clearly outperformed that ranking the tournament and made their case for the strongest team on campus.

It’s exciting to see so many teams on campus improve so quickly, and even more exciting that many team are now in the hunt for a conference champions. Having our teams not only perform well in conference, but also get recognition on a national level is something worth taking pride in. While some teams have simply continued their strong performances, many other teams are on the edge of becoming a serious threat. Hopefully, with the overall rise in performance in athletics, a National Championship in at least one sport is on its way soon.

3 days, 146,845 dollars richer

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$146,845 from 1,829 donors will soon be flowing into Swarthmore’s athletic program after the successful “Garnet Challenge.”

From the 2nd to the 5th of April this year, Swarthmore hosted a donation campaign aimed at raising interest and money in the school’s athletic department. According to the Garnet Challenge’s website, the motivation behind the campaign was a promise that, if the school were able to raise money from 300 donors in the three-day interval, an anonymous donor would give an additional $25,000 to the department.

Deriving from the 300 donor goal, each sports team at Swarthmore was given a “team goal” to fulfill. Coaches then invited their team members to donate and to let friends and family know about the campaign.

The idea of having a “team goal” definitely helped the college reach its goal of 300 donors. The “team goal” created a friendly competition between athletic teams for which team could raise the most money from the most donors. As a further incentive, the team with the most donors was promised an extra $1,000 for their team only. The primary means of spreading the information for the challenge was through student-athletes, so having those student-athletes invested in the challenge was crucial.

The goal amount of donors for each team varied based on team size and how much the athletic department believed the team could raise. For example, while the goal for Men’s Lacrosse was 101 donors, the goal for Women’s Field Hockey was 31 donors.

An essential part of the campaign was not only to get significant sums of money donated to the athletics program, but also to raise general interest and involvement in Swarthmore Athletics. The $25,000 from the anonymous donor was contingent on the amount of donors contributing, not on a particular sum of money. 300 people could have given just $1 each, and the $25,000 still would have been donated.

“It’s all about being a team player for this challenge, so the number of supporters is what matters most,” reads the Garnet Challenge website. “We encourage and appreciate gifts of all sizes, from $1 to $100,000. Show your pride and support current and future Garnet student-athletes by making a gift today!”

The slogan of the campaign was “Rise Up with the Garnet,” and the campaign website used the phrase to spread additional awareness for the athletic program at Swarthmore.

“After making your gift, share the love on social media by tagging your posts with #GarnetRiseUp and encouraging your teammates, friends, and family to make their gifts,” the website read.

A promotional video was also made for the challenge, featuring pictures of the athletic facilities and student-athletes in play. The video also included several motivational messages, such as “Be one of our 300 donors in 3 days” and “Together we can rise to the challenge.”

Over the course of the three days, with the help of team support and adequate promotion, the Garnet Challenge was a huge success. The goal of 300 donors was smashed, as 1,829 donors ended up contributing to the campaign. After the initial 300 donor goal was reached, the anonymous donor gave the $25,000.

Following this, another anonymous donor pledged $5,000 if 500 donors ended up contributing, and this became a reality soon after. Additionally, Swarthmore’s own Director of Athletics, Adam Hertz, promised to give $1,000 if 1,000 donors were reached. Once this goal was achieved, a generous donor pledged an additional $1,500 if 1,500 donors participated in the drive. This final challenge was also reached, thanks to the support of the 1,829 contributors in the challenge.

I talked to Head Golf Coach Jim Heller, who was excited about the campaign’s results.

“It was a drive overall. All the teams were a great help towards reaching the goal,” Heller said.

A total of $146,845 was raised for the Swarthmore Athletics, a very impressive sum of money considering it was raised in only three days. Furthermore, $146,845 yielded an average per-capita donation of just over $80—again, impressive.

Coach Heller also commented on how the athletic department plans on using the money.

“The athletic department will likely use the money for projects that they could not have afforded from the regular school budget,” Heller said.

Swarthmore Athletics does not receive as much money from the school as athletics department at some other similar-sized colleges do, giving the Garnet Challenge and the donations from it a special importance in keeping the athletics program funded and thriving.

“Rise Up with the Garnet” has lent its way to helping each and every athlete at Swarthmore, and the generosity of the 1,829 donors will not be forgotten.

 

1/5 of varsity athletes sign letter in support of O4S

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On March 26, Voices published Swarthmore Athletes’ Statement of Solidarity with Organizing for Survivors (O4S). 112 out of 550 student athletes signed the statement from a variety of different varsity teams on campus, which came out to about ⅕ of varsity student-athletes choosing to put their name on the letter in support. The statement declared student athletes’ support for sexual assault survivors and allies, specifically highlighting O4S’s demands to terminate the frat leases to Phi Psi and Delta Upsilon and democratize the spaces by the start of the 2018-19 school year. The statement addressed the association of athletics with the frats, but maintained that the athletic community still fully supports O4S and all of its demands. This choice to specifically support ending the fraternity leases with Phi Psi and Delta Upsilon has caused discussion among the athletic community, as many members of the varsity sports teams here are either members, or associates of the fraternities. While the statement of solidarity makes a statement on behalf of all members of the athletic community, only ⅕ of Swarthmore varsity athletes chose to sign the statement.

The Swarthmore athletes’ statement of solidarity reads, “this is a statement on behalf of Swarthmore Student Athletes to declare our support for sexual assault survivors and allies as they strive to implement crucial changes in Title IX policies. The athletic community makes up a large portion of the population of Swarthmore College, 36% of the 1,581 students at Swarthmore to be precise. We have survivors among us, and it is time for us to stand up for our teammates, friends, and community. We stand with O4S as they hold Swarthmore’s administration accountable for neglecting the needs and safety of survivors, and pressure the administration to take reformative actions to minimize the possibility of future sexual violence.”

The letter states that the athletic community fully supports all the demands of the O4S, and acknowledges that while the athletic community has strong ties with the fraternities, the athletic community still supports O4S’ demands for Swarthmore College to relinquish its leases with the fraternities.

The statement ends emphatically, calling for athletes to stand up and support survivors.

“We urge all members of Swarthmore’s Athletic community to reflect upon where they stand in terms of support for O4S, and to ask themselves what systems of injustice they are perpetuating through their silence,” the statement reads.

The Swarthmore athletes’ statement of solidarity was written and distributed to varsity teams by Sarah Girard ’19 of volleyball and track and field, Alex Frost ’20 of women’s soccer, Lilly Price ’20 of cross country and track, and Irina Bukharin ’18 of cross country and track. The Phoenix reached out to all four of these student-athletes, but none of them returned requests for comment. One of the four creators said that she did not feel comfortable answering any of the questions without consulting the other three members who helped draft the statement.

Taylor Chiang ’18, a captain of the women’s lacrosse team, expressed solidarity with the movement and illuminated her reasons for signing the letter.

“I signed the student athletes’ letter in solidarity for O4S because personally, I’m in support with all the demands O4S listed. I think bringing awareness and public support for these issues is important. Athletes are a large portion of the student body that frequently take part in the party scene on campus, and I think by signing this letter we can show other students and administration that we are in solidarity and put more pressure for policy changes,” Chiang said.

Members of Swarthmore women’s basketball and softball team who did not sign the statements also gave insight on to their reasoning behind this decision. All four members of these teams who answered chose to remain anonymous, for fear of backlash from the student body. One anonymous female athlete responded, when asked why she did not sign the statement with “I agree with 95% of what was written, but can’t sign something that is going to the administration unless I agree with 100% of it.”

She did not elaborate on what parts she dissented to, but implied that the end to the leases of the fraternity house played a major role in her decision. Most of the female athletes who gave insight on why they did not sign it had similar reasoning; they did not feel comfortable putting their name on something with which they were not fully on board. Another female athlete did not sign it because she frequently goes to the fraternities for social events and felt that signing this statement would make her a hypocrite.

After O4S’s first couple organizing meetings, almost every affinity group, and many student organizations came out with letters expressing solidarity with the movement. Notable letters included those from the Residential Assistants, DPAs, and affinity groups like SASS (Swarthmore African American Student Society), or SAO (Swarthmore Asian Organization). O4S has also received considerable support from members of faculty, as many have attended rallies, community forum meetings, and brought the ongoing campus discussion to their classes. For example Daniel Laurison, assistant professor of sociology, made one of his suggested topics for his foundation of sociology class campus sexual assault, Title IX, and support for survivors.

Out of the 112 of athletes who signed the statement, only 25 of those were male. There was a glaring lack of male signatures. Zero members of the men’s baseball, lacrosse, and basketball teams signed the letter. Six signed from men’s soccer. This distinct lack indicates that athletics at Swarthmore could be one of the major problems O4S might face in changing Swarthmore’s culture around Title IX reform. The varsity athletics community makes up a large portion of the population of Swarthmore College, 36% of the 1,581 students at Swarthmore to be precise.

In order to garner support from the athletic community, O4S may have to reach out and spread their message on a wider scale, especially explaining their long term goals, in order to resonate with people from the athletic department. It is also important to acknowledge that varsity athletes range in levels of involvement outside of athletics. Some athletes have been very involved in the O4S movement and activism around Title IX, and some haven’t. While Swarthmore Athletes’ Statement of Solidarity shows that a significant number of athletes do fully support the O4S movement, it seems like the athletic community is divided over the letter. Some members of the athletic community claim to agree with most, but not all of what O4S is calling for, and subsequently did not sign the letter. However, the messaging on the call to democratize the fraternity spaces have become more complicated. To many, it seemed like this was one of the main focuses of the movement, particularly following the numerous signs that appeared in Sharples, Parrish, and Kohlberg in the past couple weeks, calling for the end of fraternity housing. After going to Community Forum IV on Wednesday April 4, I learned that shutting down Greek Life is not a goal for O4S. While the movement still wants Swarthmore to eventually end the lease on fraternity housing, this is not high on their list of things they want to change in the present. The group is committed to transformative justice, and reimagining how the Title IX system works at Swarthmore all together. They also commented on how cutting the leases with the fraternities would not prevent groups from using that space for parties, including the fraternities if they reserve that space. This would turn these two houses into spaces like Paces and Olde Club. Instead of shutting down Greek life, they want to focus on a shift in school culture that prioritize the needs of survivors.  The athletic community might be more willing to support O4S, and less divided amongst itself, if they actually research the O4S demands, particularly how they’ve evolved over the last week or so. In the midst of these ongoing discussions, the athletic department have heard the complaints and issued a mandatory Sexual Violence Team Training for each team in the athletic department in the coming weeks. While this is certainly not a final solution, it is a first step towards creating a more supportive athletic community.

Athletes and Administration Team Up to Assist with Harvey

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While many students eagerly left their homes for another semester at Swarthmore, leaving home was particularly challenging for a select few students, both logistically and emotionally. On the evening of Friday, Aug. 25th, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in southeast Texas as a violent Category 4 hurricane, causing billions of dollars of estimated damage, and unfortunately taking lives as well. With Houston, the fourth largest city in the U.S., and its surrounding suburbs, taking the brunt of the blow, many Swarthmore students felt the impact of the storm. Although many students lives were dramatically disrupted over the course of just a few days, they bravely left their families and homes to come back to Swarthmore.

Once here, though, the gravity of the storm still lingered for these students amidst new classes, reunited friends, and an immense amount of change. Utilizing the vast network of resources available here for altruistic endeavors and community growth, many affected students partnered with their peers to fundraise for and assist their communities back home. The athletics department in particular responded swiftly and admirably. The impact of this moving effort was felt both in Houston and here at Swarthmore, too.

Not long after details of the storm’s destruction came to light, President Valerie Smith released a formal message offering encouragement and support to all Swarthmore students affected by the tragedy. However, the end of her statement went a step further to invite all members of the Swarthmore community to help, if they felt so moved.

By uniting with those who have suffered Harvey’s impact, we can help them begin the recovery process,” Smith said.

The athletics department took this invitation to heart and immediately rushed to gather any extra equipment and clothing that could be useful in the recovery process. Professional athletes such as J.J. Watt and James Harden, as well as professional sports organizations like the National Basketball Association, and the National Football League had already provided strong examples of productive response methods in response to the hurricane. Thus, not long after, a tweet from athletic director Adam Hertz showed a truckload of boxes of athletic gear all ready to be shipped to the victims in Texas. Although the athletics department itself did not promote their generosity via social media, presumably out of humility and respect, their admirable actions did not go unnoticed by the larger Swarthmore community and the student athletes they serve.

“It really means so much to me personally that everyone here is reaching out to help my own community back home. To see that people genuinely care about the destruction, whether it affects them directly or not, reflects the true character of Swarthmore,” said Alvin Lubetkin ’20, a catcher on the baseball team and a Houston native, whose home flooded in the aftermath of the storm.

Another catcher on the baseball team, Jaron Shrock ’18, and tennis standout Maria Cuervo ’18, both Texas natives, partnered in their own unique way to fundraise. After brainstorming unique ideas, the duo decided on a fun and authentic Texan tradition, a chili cook-off, to raise both awareness and funding for those affected by the storm. Since the spirit of the event was intended for community building and fundraising, all proceeds went directly to the St. Bernard Project. This project got its start after Hurricane Katrina and has undertaken important relief and recovery work in the Houston area since Harvey. After reaching out to professors, students, and the greater Swarthmore community, Cuervo and Shrock turned the event into a huge success on Saturday evening, with 17 contestants and plenty of hungry contributors from both the college and its surrounding neighborhoods.

It was one of the few times I’ve seen so many different parts of campus working together, and I think it was a special experience for all involved,” said Shrock.

The recovery effort will no doubt continue for years to come, requiring millions of hours and dollars alike. Nevertheless, the Swarthmore community has a certain duty, even if the storm did not affect us directly, to do our part in the recovery process. Particularly with Hurricane Irma presently battering Florida, the Caribbean, and the southeast U.S., both recovery processes will overlap and require even more private aid. Fortunately, there are a number of options available to students and community members who feel inclined to help with relief efforts.

Those seeking to help can reach out to those members of our community whose families, friends, and lives were affected by the storm. President Smith also cited the American Red Cross, Global Giving, the SPCA of Texas, and the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund as options for financial contributions. The chili cook-off’s benefactor, the St. Bernard Project, also accepts donations. However, for those on a budget, Shrock suggested that students could donate blood or their time here in the Philadelphia area to fundraise or organize supplies.

Although it is hard to see the positive aspects of these horrendous disasters, they do bring together and strengthen communities. Here at Swarthmore, the athletics department came together to fundraise and make significant progress in the recovery process. Although there is still much work to be done, the Swarthmore community has stepped up in a big way to try and help the lives of those affected by the storm.

Big Saturday for Swat athletics

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This Saturday will mark the busiest home weekend thus far on the Swarthmore Athletics calendar. Home action in various sports will be taking place at 12 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Clothier Field and Tarble Pavilion. The day is headlined by women’s volleyball, which hosts both Wilkes University and Cabrini College for the Garnet Classic and men’s soccer, who will put their undefeated record to the test when they host Wilkes.

Meanwhile, the women’s soccer team will also attempt to stay undefeated as they travel to Rowan University, while field hockey looks to heat up at Immaculata University.

The following is a primer for what is shaping up to be an exciting Saturday.

12 p.m. Garnet Classic: women’s volleyball vs. Wilkes University, Tarble Pavilion

Overview: The Garnet will carry a 2-2 record into Saturday’s matches, having taken two of four in their season-opening tournament in Salisbury, Maryland. Seniors Kate Amodei and Chastity Hopkins lead an exciting young Garnet squad that is aiming to continue the recent success of Head Coach Harleigh Chwastyk’s program.

Players to watch: Madison Heppe ’16 and Sam DuBois ’16 look to improve upon impressive 2013 campaigns that concluded with both players earning All-Centennial Conference honors. Heppe has established herself as the conference’s best libero, earning first-team All-Conference honors by keeping points alive with her conference-best 4.85 digs per set. DuBois (Centennial Conference All-Sportsmanship team) will aim to build on last season’s 8.92 assists per set average.

X-Factors: Class of 2018. Out of the 13 team members, five are first-years, more than any other class. The ability of these players to quickly make the adjustments necessary to be successful at the college level will be integral to the team’s playoff hopes.

2 p.m. Garnet Classic: women’s volleyball Cabrini College vs. Wilkes University, Tarble Pavilion

Overview: Those interested in scouting out Swarthmore’s competition will have the opportunity to do so, as the hosts will have a break for middle match of the Garnet Classic.

4 p.m. Garnet Classic: women’s volleyball vs. Cabrini College, Tarble Pavilion

Overivew: Swarthmore looks to complete what it hopes will be a perfect day by playing host to the Cavaliers in the nightcap of the Garnet Classic.

X-Factor: A strong performance will give the team momentum entering Tuesday’s 320 Challenge matchup at Widener University.

7 p.m. men’s soccer vs. Wilkes University, Clothier Field

Saturday night lights: The Garnet will perform in primetime Saturday under the bright lights of beautifully renovated Clothier Field. The team frequently gets strong crowds at its matches and a particularly large one should be expected given the day and time of the match.

Overview: The perennially nationally-ranked Garnet entered this season with less prestige but has impressed thus far, remaining unbeaten with a 3-0-0 record. Notably, the team has yet to allow a single goal, beating Rowan University Monday night when Mike Stewart ’15 found the back of the net in the 80th minute.

Players to watch: Michael Superdock ’15 returns to anchor Swarthmore’s thus far stout defense. The computer science major excels in decoding teams’ offensive attacks, so much so that he was named to the Academic All-America first team. Also back for their fourth seasons are twins Mike and Geoff Stewart ’15. The three seniors will lead an extremely young Swarthmore squad that features 14 first years.

X-Factors: Team chemistry. Soccer is truly a team sport. In order to excel in the Beautiful Game, teammates must know each others’ every move and be able to anticipate passes and game situations before they even occur. This year’s seniors likely understand this phenomenon quite well. After a 2011 season when admittedly poor team chemistry contributed to the team’s fall from top-ranked team in the country to failing to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, the 2012 season saw a less star-laden, but more cohesive team make it all the way to the Sweet 16. With so many young players, the team’s ability to play effectively together will determine their ability to succeed.

What off-season?

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Imagine running 75 miles in a week. Now imagine doing that every week for the entire school year. Although this seems like a cruel form of punishment to most, the Swarthmore cross country/track team runs this heavy mileage all year round and likes it.

Immediately after their season ends in November, almost all cross country runners on the team shift over to track. In other words, “off-season” doesn’t exist. This creates a never ending cycle of long distance running, giving these year-round athletes the opportunity to create a quirky, fun-loving, and welcoming environment.

“Right from the start I felt accepted,” John Gagnon ’17 said. After getting the chance to bond with the team during summer practices, John realized how friendly the team was and how willing they were to make him feel like a part of the family. “They put candy on my door with quotes and pictures,” said John. “I thought it was really thoughtful.” Kate Crowley ’16, another year-rounder, had a similar experience meeting the team. “They were the first group of people I met in college, so even before orientation started, I already felt like I had a group of people I belonged to,” she said.

In addition to welcoming freshmen during their first couple of days at Swarthmore, the team continues to build their relationships off the track. “We spend a lot of time together,” co-captain Richard Scott ’14 said. On a typical Sunday night you’ll find the year round athletes sitting in one of the private rooms at sharples, cracking jokes and laughing with one another. “We eat together every Sunday night, but we also eat together during pretty much every meal. A lot of people think of us as a cult but we’re not! We’re just a really close family,” he said.

In addition to bonding outside of athletics, the team spends countless hours running alongside one another every day of the week. With practices including Saturday races, Sunday long runs, and a combination of high intensity maintenance workouts throughout the week, it’s no surprise that the team is able to form such strong bonds so quickly. But participating in a year-round sport brings more than just close friendships. It also forces its athletes to constantly be in shape and to train and workout consistently. “I think part of the virtue of being an all year athlete is that we keep up with the maintenance that we need to do.” Richard adds, “If I had an off season, I wouldn’t be stretching or icing or doing whatever I need to do to keep me healthy. So because I’m in season all the time, I’m making sure I’m checking up on things like tendonitis or changing my shoes more frequently once they’re worn out.”

Scott has been on the team for his entire college career and he couldn’t be happier to run for Swarthmore. “It’s an exciting time to be a part of our team,” he said. “We are the only sport at Swat who consistently sends someone to their national championship. And I’m very proud to be a part of that tradition.” In addition, the team has undergone some major improvements since Richard first started running on the team. During his freshman year, the Swarthmore cross country team was in 17th place. “But throughout the past couple of years, we’ve really seen the program grow,” he said. “Last year we were in 7th place and we’re going to stay in 7th place or do even better.”

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