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On 8-0

The more references there are to Williams in elite media, the better off Williams will be. (Hat tip to Dick Quinn and the amazing job he does in Sports Information.)

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Eph Tennis: NCAA Semifinals Today

The Williams men’s and women’s tennis teams both play in the NCAA tennis championship semifinals today. The women play at 2:00 eastern time, followed by the men at 5:00.  Follow both matches live here.

The second-ranked and three-time defending national champion women, who defeated homestanding Claremont yesterday, look for revenge against UChicago, who defeated the Ephs earlier this season.  Meanwhile, UChicago looks for payback of its own, as Williams bested them in last year’s semifinals.  Should be a great match. If Williams wins, they may face Amherst in tomorrow’s championship, although the Jeffs have to first get by a very talented Emory squad.

Unlike the women, who were widely expected to earn a place in the semis, the thirteenth-ranked men had to upset third-ranked Claremont in dramatic fashion, on Claremont’s home court, late last night.   Considering the circumstances, Bryan Chow ’13 had arguably the best individual effort by an Eph athlete all year. First, he and his partner won at first doubles.  Then, Chow fought off five seven points, recovering from a set down to defeat Claremont’s senior captain in a dramatic third set tiebreaker (11-9 in the tie break).  The pressure must have been immense, as all other matches were completed by that point, and Chow knew that a mistake on any of those match points would have ended the Ephs’ season.  Chow was very opportunistic, converting on his lone match point chance.  Eph coach Dan Greenberg ’08 called it the most “unbelievable college match he has seen.”  And Chow’s victory may end up earning the Ephs just enough points to edge out Middlebury in what should be a very competitive Director’s Cup race.

Williams faces an even tougher test against second-ranked Amherst today.  The Jeffs have already beaten Williams twice this year, and should have more left in the tank after a relatively easy quarterfinal victory yesterday.  But don’t count the Ephs out, as they were not expected to have a chance against Claremont, either.  Go Ephs!

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Chaffee ’09 4th at U.S. road mile championships

When we last saw our hero, he was breaking the four-minute mile, running 3:58.8 indoors. Last Thursday, Macklin Chaffee ’09 was fourth at the U.S. road mile championships in Minnesota. In this video, he is on the right side of the screen, wearing white:

With about 1/4 mile to go in the race, three guys take off and separate themselves from the field; Macklin beat everyone else in the race, but couldn’t catch the three of them, who ended up on the podium. Macklin reflected:

In the race I remember seeing it string out on the right side of the field (I was on the left) but I took a few seconds to decide to react and that was the difference of 10 meters plus the 5 meter jump they had before I recognized the move. […] My body’s signals still caused me to hesitate and not really start pushing until we got to that downhill. Once on it, I flew by the 4 guys I was with and set my sights on the breakaway pack of three. I honestly think I recovered a bit on that downhill and really felt good once it leveled off with 200 to go. […] I sincerly believe that last 200 would have been about the same even if I had pushed earlier with those guys before the downhill. The consequence of not going with them will be that I have to settle for 4th.

On the one hand, 4th is awesome! I won $800 and beat a lot of really good guys. But at the same time I didn’t give myself an opportunity to win, and in a race like this, with nothing but maybe a little cash on the line, this is the opportunity to throw yourself at the competition, assert your confidence in your fitness, and really give the other guy your best shot. I don’t feel like I did that today and that has me melancholic (Yes it’s a word. I looked it up).

Fourth place may well be the best a Williams runner (or athlete in general?) has placed in a national championship, at least in recent memory. Jenn Campbell ’05 was ninth American at the 5k road championships in 2010. Macklin is training for the Olympics, aiming to be one of the top three Americans in his event (the 1500m or 800m) by 2012.

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Final Wrestling Update

The boys relaxing after hitting the Williams Inn buffet!

Hope all the mom’s out there had a terrific Mothers Day!  I realize that we are knee-deep in the very successful spring athletic season, but as the wrestling team just held its year-end banquet, I thought I would pen one final update to summarize the season, recognize individual accomplishments and honor the graduating seniors.  This is a bittersweet task as the parent of a senior.

The Year in Review

The team came into this year with great expectations given last year’s success.  Unfortunately the injury bug afflicted the team in a significant way throughout the season.  Nevertheless, everyone pitched in and guys wrestled hurt and many wrestled up anywhere from one to three weight classes so as not to give up a forfeit.  The Eph’s dual meet record of 12-11 is a bit misleading as six losses were decided by four points or less (one match).  Highlights of the year included:

  • First ever dual meet win over 22nd ranked Luther College (Iowa)
  • 4th place finish in the Bud White National Duals at Lycoming College.  During the tournament, Williams defeated 11th ranked York and 27th ranked Messiah.
  • 4th place finish in the NEWA duals
  • 2nd place finish in the NEWA year-end tournament.  Seven All NEWA Wrestlers (Antista ’13, Foote ’13, Lomio ’14, Malo ’11, Martin ’12, Mattana ’11 and Paulish ’11), four finalists (Antista ‘13, Foote ‘13, Malo ‘11 and Paulish ‘11) and two champions (Antista ’13 and Paulish ’11)
  • Team GPA of 3.573 which was the highest in school history and second nationally among all NCAA schools
  • NCAA Tournament
    • School record four wrestlers qualified for the NCAA National Tournament  (Antista ’13, Foote ’13, Malo ’11 and Paulish ’11)
    • 23rd place finish
  • Two Eph freshman won the NEWA Conference “Futures Tournament” (Brooks ’14 and Treadgold ‘14) Read more
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Tennis Rivalry Showdown

Today, Williams looks to upset Amherst for the NESCAC title in both men’s and women’s tennis.  Both Eph tennis squads are led by alumni, Alison Swain ’01 for the women and Dan Greenberg ’08 for the men.  Swain has a fairly respectable start to her coaching career: three seasons, three national titles.

At 9:00 this morning at Middlebury, the third-seeded Williams men, fresh off upsetting defending national champion Middlebury thanks to a clinching comeback win from Zach Weiss ’13, looks to avenge a 5-4 regular-season loss to top seeded Amherst.  Amherst has finished second nationally two years running, and is the favorite to win this year’s national title.   The Ephs have a very young team — none of the top six singles players are upperclassmen — making this year’s run all the more impressive.  Despite being two of the top ten teams in the country, Amherst and Williams are both looking to end long championship draughts due to Middlebury’s recent dominance: since 1992 for Amherst, and since 2003 for the Ephs.

The women’s tennis match, played at 1:00 at Amherst, features top-ranked (nationally) Amherst versus number two Williams.  Amherst has dominated the NESCAC tourney in recent years (the Jeffs are looking for their seventh straight NESCAC crown), and has already beaten Williams twice this year, but oddly, the Ephs have had far more success in the NCAA tourney, including the aforementioned three straight national titles (and five total titles over the past decade).   Williams cruised path number five (nationally) Tufts in the NESCAC semifinal.

Go Ephs!

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Early Spring Athletics Round-Up

A slew of athletics stories to catch up on:

  • The biggest news of the month is, of course, the (expected?) announcement that long-time Eph coach and administrator Lisa Melendy was named the new permanent athletics director.  Congratulations!
  • Congrats to Williams on ascending to its traditional position at the top of the Director’s Cup standings after a tremendously successful winter season.
  • Congrats to future Eph Ryan Barry ’15 for being named the top scholar-athlete in Western Mass.
  • The Williams baseball team (much like the softball and men’s and women’s lacrosse teams) had great success outside of conference play, but has struggled vs. NESCAC to date.  [The Ephs did stay alive in NESCAC with a crucial and dramatic rally against Wesleyan on Sunday].  One story of note: the break-out first year of the spring season has been first year catcher Marco Hernandez, who is either first or second on the Ephs in batting, slugging, hits, home runs, stolen bases, and triples.  Hernandez is also a very gifted football player, and is expected to play a bigger role on the gridiron next fall.
  • Congrats to the Purple Cow, recently named America’s most lovable mascot in a Reader’s Digest poll.  Although the poll  listed only the top four, rumor has it that Lord Jeff came in at number 3458.   
  • Be sure to watch Khari Stephenson ’04’s spectacular goal, which was recently named MLS goal of the week:
  • Nice article by Dave Fehr on the tremendous environment in Chandler during the last few weekends of Williams hoops.  Winter in Billsville can be long for both students and local residents, and packed crowds cheering on a winning team in hotly contested rivalry and tourney games can go a long way towards dulling the winter blues, and building tremendous school spirit to boot.
  • Great article on Williams swimming superstar Logan Todhunter ’12, who, along with fellow superstar Caroline Wilson ’13, led Williams to a third-place showing at the NCAA tourney.
  • Also check out this article on women’s basketball star Jill Greenberg ’12 who, with one year of eligibility remaining, is already the Ephs’ all-time assist leader.
  • Wonderful article by philosophy professor Alan Hirsch on hoops coach Mike Maker, whom he dubs the “anti Jim Calhoun.”  Speaking of Calhoun, Dave Paulsen ’87 must be feeling at least a LITTLE bit better about the drubbing his Bucknell squad received from UConn after watching the Huskies go on to win the national title behind the same stifling defense that frustrated the Bison.
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Williams College women set to play 24 hours of rugby fundraiser for cancer research

The Williams College women’s rugby team will pull the ultimate all-nighter… (Courtesy photo)

Stephen Dravis writes in the  Berk shire Advocate on April 6:

Most college students pull an all-nighter at some point during their career.

Few will do anything like this.

On Easter weekend, the Williams College women’s rugby team will play a 24-hour match against Keene State that the teams hope will land them a place in Guinness World Records history and — more importantly — help in the fight against cancer.

The inaugural Scrum for a Cure will get under way at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 23, at Cole Field and end, if all goes according to plan, sometime after 8 a.m. on Easter Sunday.

Twenty-four hours of running and bone-jarring tackles may not be the easiest way to raise awareness of breast and colorectal cancer research, but Williams captain Leah Lansdowne said her team is up to the challenge.

“I think rugby is a unique sport for women to play,” Lansdowne said. “It involves some strong women. I think there’s a solidarity to raising money for a cancer that affects primarily women.”

That’s why the Williams players immediately got on board when their friends at Keene State suggested a breast cancer fundraiser of some kind — possibly involving pink uniforms.

Lansdowne said it was Williams coach Gina Coleman who suggested the teams take their efforts to another level.

“Somebody in the group said, ‘How about something like the March of Dimes does where people would pledge for every minute played? If we go the distance, we can raise a lot of money,'” recalled Coleman, who also is the college’s associate dean of students. “I said, if it’s of Guinness proportions, you could raise a lot. That’s when the idea came about.”

Read the entire story! As EphBlog Prexy Whitney Wilson suggests, donations may be made here


Williams coach Gina Coleman ’90 adds this about the logistics:
“The event will happen on the rugby pitch. Sunbelt Rentals out of Latham, NY will be providing us with temporary lights for the event.

“Thanks for the support!”

 

 

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College Sports Project

Interesting press release from Middlebury:

The College Sports Project (CSP) has released a third round of analyses measuring academic outcomes for athletes and non-athletes at 84 NCAA Division III colleges and universities. “The data identify subgroups of intercollegiate athletes who do as well as, and sometimes better than, their non-athlete counterparts,” said John Emerson, Charles A Dana Professor of Mathematics at Middlebury College and the study’s principal investigator. “By examining various subgroups of students, college presidents can see which students and teams are doing well academically, and which may need attention and help.”

“As past President of one of the CSP institutions, I always found these reports interesting and instructive. I’m proud of Northwestern University’s role in providing a secure locale for collecting and managing this large data set and a supportive environment for the team headed by Rachelle Brooks that has performed these valuable analyses,” said Morton Schapiro, President of Northwestern University.

The data continue to indicate relatively modest differences in grade-point averages (GPAs) between female athletes and non-athletes. In contrast, male recruited athletes generally have lower GPAs than their non-athlete counterparts.

Good stuff. There is a great senior thesis to be written using this data. You should write it!

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Williams and the NCAA

Final article from several yeas ago in a three part series about Williams and the NCAA by Adam Bloch ’06.

Williams wonders what’s there to fix
Despite minor variations in opinion and the occasional renegade
viewpoint, a mostly united philosophycourses through the athletic
offices of Williams College with regard to a potential split in
the NCAA’s Division 3 because of membership growth. Men’s
basketball head coach Dave Paulsen described it best.
“I’m always of the opinion that if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” he
said earlier this week.

There is certainly nothing broken for Williams when it comes to
athletics. The Ephs have built a reputation as a well-honed winning
machine on the collegiate fields, courts, rinks, and pools of
Division 3 over the past decade. Since the NESCAC began participating
in NCAA championships in 1993, Williams has won 13 national titles
and nine out of 10 Directors’ Cups – an award given yearly to the
college in each division with the most overall athletic success.
The Ephs have managed to win so much despite competing against a
constantly increasing field of opponents in Division 3 (417 other
colleges this year) that includes institutions with enrollments five
times as large and half as many teams. Success against that sort of
competition has made many Williams coaches content with the current
state of the division.

“I enjoy competing against the top track schools,” track and field
head coach Ralph White said. “If we split, they would be in a
different division than us just because they’re a different type of
school. I want to compete against the best. I definitely prefer
keeping things the way they are.”

White coached at three Division 1 universities before joining the
Ephs, and he isn’t the only Williams coach with previous experience
at a range of different institutions. Baseball head coach Bill
Barrale was on the staff at three other Division 3 schools before he
came to Williamstown.

“I don’t think you need to tamper with the system,” he said. “The
NCAA has unfortunately let this thing grow into a problem. How do you
group the schools now? By money, by state schools and private
schools?”

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Division 4?

Second article in a three part series about Williams and the NCAA by Adam Bloch ’06.

Is it time for the NCAA to create a Division 4?
For the last several decades, people have become accustomed to NCAA’s
set structure of three divisions. Soon, everybody might have to get
used to a Division 4. Division 3 has been growing for years – ever
since the organization’s inception in 1973, though numbers have
increased far more rapidly in the past two decades. But it wasn’t
until 2002, a year before the divisional membership made a sudden
leap from 396 to 411 schools, that officials took action in response
to concerns surrounding such quick growth.

That’s when the division’s two most important governing bodies, the
Presidents Council and the Management Council, formed a joint
subcommittee to examine growth issues, beginning the first phase of
an effort that became known as the Future of Division 3.
“Coming out of the 2002 convention, we committed to a two-year
process to focus on the Division 3 philosophy statement and ensure
that there was greater consistency in the application at the
institutional level of that statement,” Division 3 Vice President Dan
Dutcher told the Transcript last week.

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Growing Problem

Interesting article about Williams and the NCAA by Adam Bloch ’06 from several years ago.

NCAA experiencing a growing problem
Thirty-four years after a three-way division completely altered its
shape and future, the NCAA now stands on the brink of a similarly
revolutionary split. Fueled by unceasing growth over the past two
decades and increasing philosophical differences within the
association, all three divisions of the NCAA are currently wrestling
with issues regarding membership that could transform the landscape
of collegiate athletics. Though NCAA officials are quick to assert
that any current discussions concern the entire association, debate
is nowhere more advanced and fractured than in Division 3, which as
soon as 2009 could split into two subdivisions or a completely new
NCAA grouping – a Division 4.

“The growth issues are important across the board for the
association,” Division 3 Vice President Dan Dutcher said in a phone
interview last week. “There’s been much more growth, though, as it
relates to Division 3, certainly.”

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Scenes from a Travesty

Before we consign the Final Four game that we watched in Salem this past Friday to the closet of banished memories (while enshrining the season overall as a glorious Final Four run capped with a terrific Chandler win over Amherst), I wanted to share a few pictures on EphBlog. Above is one of the inspiring “It’s Always a Great Day to be an Eph” signs; the back side is purple and simply reads “Go Williams.”

It may always be a great day to be an Eph, but that was certainly hard to remember at the conclusion of the game. Mike Maker and the great sportsmen on the Williams team may be more magnanimous towards the referees, but I’m not: he officiating in Williams-Wooster ought to be an embarrassment to the NCAA and the three officials involved.  It would have been an embarrassment at an intramural game.

I’ve never been approached after a game like that by the other team’s fans and told that they were glad to have won, but that they wished they had won in a fair game. To quote one, “It’s a lot sweeter to win a game when the other team is allowed to play their best game.” Kerry Campbell, John St. Clair, and Rusty Phillips, if you can’t or won’t call games fairly, you should find a different hobby. (For what it’s worth, all three appear to officiate regularly in D1’s Ohio Valley Conference, where Wooster is a familiar name and Williams is… not).

More photos, and more venting, after the jump.

Author’s Note: Readers will find contrasting perspectives on the quality of officiating in the comments, below.

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Ephs lose by 2 in nail-biter …

Your analyses, please!

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Final Four Mega-Preview

Williams played an amazingly gutty four games, in a VERY tough sectional, to advance to the Final Four, where they play tomorrow night at 6:00.   In the world of “survive and advance,” survive was the key word for the Ephs.  They survived injuries and illness to their three key players (regional player of the year Troy Whittington ’11, first-team all region James Wang ’12, and Nate Robertson ’13), each of whom took turns carrying the team, while James Klemm ’13 emerged as a clutch shot-maker, with big three after big three throughout the tourney.  The Ephs survived a first round scare against a scrappy Cinderella Husson team, then survived the full court press of a very athletic Becker squad.  But they saved the real fireworks for back-to-back wins, in a raucous Chandler Gym, over top-ten teams Virginia Wesleyan and, of course, Amherst, led by legendary performances from Whittington and Robertson, respectively.  See highlights from the Amherst game here and here, read the Williams game notes here and the Wooster game notes here, read the NCAA’s Williams preview here, and listen to Coach Maker on Hoopsville here (beginning at 5:30) and the Williams College basketball show here.

Now it is on to Salem for, incredibly, the sixth time since 1997, and the second straight year.  This year has a bit of a 2003 flavor, as Williams faces Wooster, once again, in the semifinal, and the Final Four includes a MIAC squad in St. Thomas (Williams beat another MIAC school, Gustavus Adolphus, for the 2003 title).  Eph fans can only hope for a similar outcome, although as you would expect, things don’t get any easier.  One bonus: Eph first-year and Pittsfield native Caroline Sinico will be singing the National Anthem prior to Saturday’s championship game.  She often performs at Chandler, and is top-notch.  Full previews of the four teams competing at Salem below the break:

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Wrestling: National respect overdue!

Ed note: This review of the D-3 National championships in LaCrosse, WI this last weekend was written by mjayt and originally sent in to Speak Up.

With all the athletic press recently (and deservedly so) going to the Eph Men’s basketball team’s run to the final four…… what sort of went by unnoticed was the continued lack of love/respect the Williams wrestling team and New England wrestling in general gets on the national stage.
The Ephs sent 4 wrestlers to the University Of Wisconsin Lacrosse this past weekend for the D-3 National Cahmpionships. I should say that we qualified two and had two others go as “at large picks”. That in itself begins the lack of respect that our region gets in this sport. To qualify for the nationals in NE, you must win your weight bracket or be lucky enough to get one of the the four at large picks the conference gets. There are only 10 weight brackets in college wrestling, so those ten conference champions go and the coaches vote in 4 others. Many of the midwest conferences get their top two or three placers in each weight class into this event. Thus, Wartburg College of Iowa qualified all 10 of their wrestlers and eventually won their 3rd national championship in the past 4 years and 5th in the last 8 years). Take nothing away from Wartburg….they are loaded with talent from top to bottom, but you obviously have a better chance to score more team points, with more wrestlers in the field. The Ephs had hoped to qualify 6 or 7 of their wrestlers this year and make a bit more noise on the national scene, but injuries just derailed their goals (both for a repeat NE title….finishing 2nd to Springfield, and a potential top 10 national finish).
The lack of respect for our NE/Williams guys translated to the seeding and formation of the brackets at the Nationals. Senior Corey Paulish who was a 3 time National qualifier, NE conference champion at 149 lbs., and All American in 09 as a sophomore (finishing I believe 4th) was given a pigtail match (a preliminary round just to earn a place into the championship draw against a 3 time national champion, who eventually won the bracket)….for his first match! Corey lost that match and had to battle back through the long consolation bracket, eventually losing in the round that would have made him an All American for the second time.
Sophomore Ces Antista, who also was a NE Conference Champion and carried a 25-2 record into the nationals was paired against the #1 seed and returning national champion (and eventual champion again this year) in the first round. Ces battled hard and Read more

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A basketball fan from Williamstown writes…

Williamstown fan Dave Fehr writes to a few friends. He is a basketball fan and will be making the trip to Salem.

There is a tendency in some parts of the country (and at d3hoops.com) not to take NESCAC (and New England in general) hoops seriously.

Well, in the Div. III NCAA Sectional at Williamstown this weekend, three of the top-10 ranked teams in the country were present. Where else does that happen? (Well, it also happened here two weeks ago in the NESCAC tournament semi-finals (Williams; Middlebury; Amherst). Of the eight teams playing last night in the quarterfinals, three were from NESCAC. Middlebury and Williams will be at the Final Four this Friday. (That also happened in 2004 – Williams and
Amherst.) Midd and Williams, if they take care of business, would meet in
the National Championship game this Sat. All in all, I think we do pretty
well.

Coach Maker said he didn’t sleep worrying about #10 ranked Va. Wesleyan. All
black (I don’t think it’s racist to point this out, as it’s a fact: the 3
white kids on the roster sat at the end of the bench and didn’t even dream
about getting into the game), fast, could shoot, shot a lot of 3s (but not
as many as we shoot), defended the three well), and played in the ODAC, a
very strong league. The one thing they lack is height (called “length” these
days). So, I figured we’d win because of the home court and because we could
out-rebound them.

We were out-rebounded 43-33! To start the game, the Va. Wes. coach decided
to single-cover Troy. Big mistake! We went to him on our first four
possessions: layup, jumper, jumper, jumper, 8-0 Williams. Five minutes into
the game it was 13-2, at which point we went into a deep freeze and were
outscored 32-14 until halftime. Read more

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A Hoffler, a Skip, and a Jump

Tanasia Hoffler from NCAA interview

The Williams track and field teams recently returned from the Division III national championship meet in  Columbus. The women performed especially well, taking 7th place in the team competition. Tanasia Hoffler ’13 led the Ephs by winning the triple jump with a leap (well, a hop, step, and then a majestic leap) of 12.24 meters, or 40′ 2″ for those of you who are metrically challenged. That is, it should go without saying, a hell of a jump.

Although I have more than my share of bias as a former Williams track captain, the contributions of the men’s and women’s track teams to Williams’ dominant athletic run is easy to overlook. (Until just now, for example, track did not even have its own sub-category on Ephbog despite the fact that track has probably contributed more consistently to Williams’ Director’s Cup success than any other sport). Congratulations to the women and to Hoffler who is only a sophomore and could end up rewriting the record books for the school, New England, and even nationally.

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Bucknell Hoops Preview

The last time (before Friday!) the Ephs played in back-to-back Final Fours, they were led by Dave Paulsen ’87, who finished a tremendous year leading Bucknell to the Patriot League title, earning conference coach of the year honors in the process.  Watch post-game video of Dave here hear his thoughts on the Ephs’ Final Four run here, and be sure to read fellow Eph Tim Layden’s story on Paulsen’s time at Williams.  Go Bison!  

Bucknell will be a massive underdog againt perennial power and Big East champion UConn, when they play on Thursday at 7:20 at the Verizon Center.  Bucknell will be particularly hard-pressed to contain UConn superstar guard Kemba Walker, who has been keeping Paulsen from a good night’s sleep this week.  (At least one regular Ephblogger will be in attendance to cheer Paulsen on).  Nevertheless, some feel that Bucknell has Cinderella potential.

Bucknell’s key players:

  • Bucknell’s star is Mike Muscala ’13: Patriot League player of the year.  He reminds me of Eph all-American Ben Coffin ’04, in both appearance, playing style, and ability level, although he has an extra two inches in height, and deeper shooting range.  Very tough player on both ends of the floor.  Follow Muscala’s tweets on BisonGoDancing.
  • Bryson Johnson ’13: second team all-Patriot two-guard who Paulsen has called the best shooter he has ever coached … quite a statement from a guy who coached legendary Eph marksmen like Tim Folan, Tucker Kain, and Chuck Abba.  Johnson is reasonably athletic and can get to the rim as well, but it is his tremendous range which gives Bucknell a shot at an upset.  They will need him to hit some tough, deep threes, which can be the equalizer verses a more talented team.
  • Darryl Shazier ’11: the lone senior starter, a small but lightning quick first team all-Patriot point guard, can get into foul trouble and runs hot and cold in terms of shooting, but an electrifying player and the engine that makes Bucknell run.   Bucknell has no other true point guards in the rotation, so he has to stay out of foul trouble — the Bison offense has a tendency to bog down when he is not on the floor.
  • Bryan Cohen ’12: two-time Patriot League defensive player of the year, scrappy as hell on both ends, consumate glue guy, won’t often create his own shot but a good passer who will make the hustle play.  In the mold of Ephs John Botti ’96 and Jim Frew ’99.  Cohen will face his steepest challenge as a collegian in attempting to guard the fastest, and arguably the best overall, guard in the country, surefire first team all-American Kemba Walker.

Other guys to watch include the fifth starter, Joe Willman ’13, who does some dirty work and can hit mid-range jumpers, and who will have a major challenge dealing with UConn’s bigger and more athletic forwards, Cameron Ayers ’14, a very talented frosh who plays like you’d expect from a coach’s son — poised, crafty, and can shoot, and fan favorite / energizer G.W. Boone ’11, who is another capable shooter from deep.  Bucknell is not a deep team, relying heavily on these seven guys.

As for UConn, everyone knows about Kemba Walker … he will be a major handful for Bucknell, who will surely try to force him to feed teammates rather than have one-on-one opportunities.  Walker’s supporting cast is, as you would expect from UConn, talented as well, although none of them are stars in the Big East (if they played in the Patriot League, that would likely be a different story).  In particular, Bucknell will have to focus on do-it-all 6’5 wing Jeremy Lamb (UConn’s second leading scorer), and 6’9 F/C Alex Oriakhi, a physically imposing player who is a dominant force on the glass and protecting the rim.  Bucknell is at a particular disadvantage up front, where Muscala is the only true big man who sees major minutes, while Connecticut rotates five players between 6’8 and 7’0.

To win, Bucknell will have to keep Walker under control and force the other UConn players to beat them, keep Muscala and Shazier out of foul trouble as both can ill afford to miss much game action, do a credible job on the glass vs. a bigger, more athletic team, and hit threes, and lots of them.  I think Bucknell will at least make it interesting, but I am sure Coach Paulsen will have some sleepless nights heading into his first D-1 tourney ….

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Short Hops

Good news for all the baseball luddites in the room — assistant professor of legal studies Alan Hirsch has co-authored a new book entitled “The Beauty of Short Hops: How Chance and Circumstance Confound the Moneyball Approach to Baseball.”  The book purports to “expose the myths perpetuated” by Michael Lewis’ acclaimed best-seller, which also happens to be coming to the big screen this fall.  More faculty intervention in an area that students are perfectly capable of handling themselves.

A full review will have to wait until I get my hands on a copy of “Short Hops.”  By all indications, though, Hirsch and his co-author, brother Sheldon, have simply trotted out the same shop-worn “arguments” that others have offered ad nauseam for the past eight years.

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Spirit: Watch this video!

http://athletics.williams.edu/video/index

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NCAA Bracket

We’re not running one for the Div I tournament, but Idiots’Books is. Go here to play in the bracket organized by fellow Eph and, sadly, Duke supporter, Matthew Swanson ’97.

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Williams defeat Amherst 77-71! “Four times the Ephs have played Amherst in the NCAAs, four times they have won, doesn’t get much better” sez Jeffz.


From Williams College Athletic site

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Men’s Hoops Tourney Preview EXTRA: FINAL!

UPDATED:  I have moved this preview up, and added many new links, for today’s NCAA hoops action.  As expected, Williams, VWU, Amherst and RIC all advanced to an absolutely loaded sectional in Chandler.  A few links pertinent to this weeken’s action: the latest basketball show, video highlights from the Becker game,  the North Adams Transcript’s preview, Williams’ sectional preview (including webcast links), and Amherst’s sectional preview.

Of the five teams who have dominated D-3 basketball from 2003 through 20010 (Williams, Amherst, Virginia Wesleyan, Wisconsin Stevens Point, and Wash U., who have combined to win every title during that time period, with an additional five runner-up finishes), three, number ten VWU, number nine Amherst, and number four Williams, will battle for a spot in Salem.  D3hoops previews the tourney here, Williams previews its sectional here, and Amherst previews its portion of the bracket here.  Watch the webcasts of the Williams games here.

If you want in on the Ephblog NCAA pool, there will be a bonus of five points per pick for each D-3 Final Four team.  My picks are Williams (of course), Stevens Point, Middlebury, and Wooster (I’m not exactly going out on a limb, as these are four of the eight favorites, along with Augustana, Randolph Macon, Whitworth, and Amherst).  Either post your picks, or send them to me via email.  My analysis of the teams in the Ephs’ bracket is below the break.

[Note: the women’s team also made the NCAA tournament, but they are certainly long shots … even if they win their first two games, both on the road, they will almost surely have to face Amherst, who has already defeated them three times, at Amherst in the Sweet Sixteen].

(Ed note: from Jeff’s great round-up [note: click on the Whittington article, which is truly a must-read] PLUS this additional story on NESAC Player of the Year.  For the uninitiated, I also highly recommend checking out some of Troy’s innumerable highlight-reel plays).

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Williams first season of Basketball national competition – ’54-’55 …

As reported on the Williams Athletic site, it was many years ago (funny, it doesn’t seem that long ago) that an Eph team was in a national tourney – the NCAA.

I mention this as a part of background and color to this weekend!

Tony Moro ’55 and Ron Wilson ’55 were the stars along with Bob Buss ’56. There was one loss, a heart-breaker to Amherst.

This reminiscence from Tony Moro in January 2008:

… memories of when Amherst stopped our 1955 undefeated record by beating us on their home court. The defeat was largely my responsibility.

A couple of days before the game I had been horsing around with Marco in the TDX living
room before lunch and managed to badly sprain two fingers in my right hand.

This did not enhance my shooting performance that evening and we ended up
kissing off our 14-game streak of wins. On the last day of our season we
got a measure of revenge and beat Amherst on our home court, which was
satifying, but did nothing to regain for us the undefeated season.

As a footnote, I also had horsed around with Marco and ended up with a broken wrist and a cast in a peculiar position which made it difficult to dress for dinner in a coat and tie. Marco’s study mate was the first Williams wrestler to compete in the nationals.

Marco ’56 – his real name will not be used, lacrosse, football, and wresting – is now an investor living in Zug, Switzerland. His brother ’54 is an investor living in London and an ardent supporter on international tournament bridge.

Huh! Does this belong under Senior Mom’s post “When I think of Williams”?

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D3 Wrestling Nationals Preview

Ryan Malo '11

The NCAA D3 Wrestling Nationals will be held on March 10th and 11th hosted by the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse.  Williams will be sending a school record four wrestlers to the tournament.

Ces Antista, ’13, 141 (first trip)

Corey Paulish, ’11, 149 (third trip, All American in 2009 at 141)

Ryan Malo, ’11, 197 (third trip, All American and finalist in 2009 and 2010)

Tom Foote, ’13, HWT (first trip)

There will be 59 teams represented which approximates 66% of the schools sponsoring D3 wrestling programs.  Of the 59 schools, 23 are sending one competitor and 18 are sending four or more.  Wartburg qualified their entire ten man line-up (in the Iowa Conference, the top three place finishers at each weight qualify).

The brackets were released yesterday and to be blunt, Williams did not get favorable draws.  The seeding committee ranks the top eight wrestlers at each weight and randomly draws in the remaining wrestlers.  This is a double elimination tournament and you need to finish in the top eight to make All American. In a few weight classes there are more than 16 wrestlers.  In those situations there are one or two “rat tail” matches to get to an even 16 man bracket.  The unfortunate wrestlers who were randomly assigned a rate tail match will have to win three matches to make All American.  Paulish and Foote have rat tail matches. 

Here is an overview of the first round. Read more

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Bowdoin 5 – 2 over Williams: NESAC Hockey title first for the Polar Bears …


From the Williams Athletics site:
Fifth seed Bowdoin College scored in every period in downing host and second seeded Williams College 5-2 to claim their first NESCAC title this afternoon in Lansing Chapman Rink.

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Great Eph Football Video

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Help Wanted: Ice Hockey Fan!! (Second Notice … so you know we are really hurtin’)

Zach Miller ’10
Wrestling Fan has done a great job giving us insight into the wrestling team this year.  After a dramatic come-from-behind win on Saturday, men’s ice hockey is hosting, I believe for the first time ever, the NESCAC semifinals this weekend. 

Are there any hockey fans out there who can provide some analysis of the team and its opponents?  If so, let us know!

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The 6th Man: Showing at Chandler Tonight! Redux …


This post is being run again because of a comment received from a Middlebury fan that opens a new perspective. It is added to the post

“Looking to talk trash? Are you a sports fan who’s looking to talk trash? Or are you just looking to be an excited sports fan cheering on your Basketball team? Then join the 6th Man Coalition and support the Williams College Men’s Varsity Basketball Team. We will go to every home game with a reserved section just for us in Chandler Gym. Requirements for membership consist of: -School Spirit -Recklessness -Potential to Offend Opponents -Ability to Be Loud -Fearlessness and last but not least… -Passion In order to increase our heckling potential and presence at the basketball games, we will wearing our 6th Man t-shirts to every home game!” (from the prospectus for The 6th Man)

Congratulations, Organizers. What a great idea!
Or maybe not. The comment from Bob:

Potential to offend opponents…heckling potential”
Seems to run counter to that prominently displayed NCAA poster in Chandler with the words “Be Positive” and the NESCAC and NCAA sportsmanship statement which reads that the conference and its members “promote good sportsmanship by student-athletes, coaches, and spectators. We request your cooperation by supporting the participants and officials in a positive manner. Profanity, racial or sexist comments, or other intimidating actions directed at the officials, student-athletes, coaches, or team representatives will not be tolerated and are grounds for removal from the site of competition.”

I, for one, was appalled by the behavior of the Williams students and their treatment of the Middlebury players on Sunday. I guess this sort of this is encouraged/sanctioned?

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Eph’s Take Second at NEWAs – Four Qualify for Nationals

Coach Hausenfus and team celebrating with the second place trophy

The Williams College wrestling team had a fantastic performance at this weekend’s New England Wrestling Association tournament taking second place to Springfield College.   At the conclusion of day one, it was a three way horse race for second among Williams, Wesleyan and Johnson and Wales, where one point separate the three teams.  The Eph’s really stepped it up on day two and clinched their second place finish at the conclusion of the consolation finals.  This group of seniors has enjoyed much success at the NEWA’s with place finishes of 3rd, 1st, 1st and 2nd over their careers.

Williams had seven of its wrestlers achieve “All England” status. 

Josh Mattana ’11 was 6th at 125

Ces Antista, ’13 was 1st at 141

Corey Paulish, ’11 was 1st at 149

Kyle Martin, ’12 was 6th at 165

Mike Lomio, ’14 was 3rd at 184

Ryan Malo, ’11 was 2nd at 197

Tom Foote, ’13 was 2nd at 285

More importantly, Williams qualified four wrestlers to the NCAA Nationals to be held at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse on March 11th and 12th – a school record.  Antista and Paulish received automatic bids due to their first place finishes, while Malo and Foote received wild card bids that are awarded by the coaches at the conclusion of the tournament.

Other notable achievements at the tournament included Josh Mattana recording his 100th career win, Corey Paulish breaking Carl Breitenstein’s record for career wins with 127 and Mike Lomio being named conference Co-Rookie Wrestler of the Year.

It was a great tournament and I’m sure our guys will represent Williams College and the New England conference extremely well at Nationals.  I’ll provide an overview of nationals next week.

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