UMPI Baseball: What to expect

 

Good luck, men!

It’s about that time! Baseball season is right around the corner for your UMPI Owls, looking to turn things around after a rough couple of seasons. With a new season brings a lot of change. The Owls brought in 11 new faces to the club this season, 10 of whom are freshmen. The other is a sophomore.

This is Roger Stinson’s third season as UMPI baseball head coach. Since he’s taken over the reins of the team, he has been trying to rebuild the team. This season he feels fairly confident that he has done that. He thinks that the youth of the team this year is their strength. “If the youth goes, we go,” Coach Stinson said. Coach was also fairly surprised at how fast the team came together, considering the mix of all the new faces and the upperclassmen. After seeing the team together for the first time, his thoughts were “Look out, here we come.” These thoughts that Stinson has are definitely flowing throughout the team. Although an area of concern is still pitching right now, Coach Stinson has everyone taking a crack at pitching to see what he’s got for pitching options this season.

Upperclassman Jordan Hanscom also talked about the team and the upcoming season. He, like Coach, was also really excited for the upcoming season. He said that they have a “really good core with young guys gelled well. The energy was definitely different and definitely looking forward to the season.” Hanscom is a junior and his aspirations are to get 20 hits this year and hit his first collegiate home run. But as a team he wants to be in the playoffs this year. With all the change, Hanscom kept saying, Why not us? There are six teams in the NAC and four make the playoffs. Hanscom thinks they should be able to get a one or two seed in the NAC playoffs. Hanscom believes the biggest thing is they need to stay together as a group, and to win and lose together. For this season to be a success for Hanscom, “We’ve got to be in every game and can’t lose by more than 3 runs at the end of games.

We also caught up with senior Roberto De La Pena. He believes team chemistry is definitely a strong asset this year for the team because “we got guys that love baseball. If you don’t love it, you won’t put 100 percent in.” De La Pena wants to pitch better than he has over the past few seasons. He also wants to win more games this season and he wants the team to play the right way. He defined playing the right way as “giving it your all and always hustling.” For this season to be a success, De La Pena believes that the members of the team need to take care of business. De La Pena also believes that the team members need to take extra swings and ground balls outside of the team practices.

Coach and his players have a renewed focus this season with eyes toward a playoff berth, as well as working as a team rather than individuals. Brotherhood is everything with a team. The closer you are off the field, the better the team seems to play on it. Everyone on the team is super excited to get the season going because this team really seems to want it, compared to teams from the last couple of seasons.

One thing’s for sure: you can definitely expect an exciting season from your UMPI Owls. So buckle up and get ready for this season, because it’s going to be a ride you won’t soon forget.

 

 

 

Shyquinn Dix Scores His 1,000 Point as an Owl

 

 

UMPI’s men_s basketball team pose for a picture on Jan. 28.

University of Maine at Presque Isle star basketball player Shyquinn Dix collected his 1,000 point in his college career on Jan. 28 against Unity College. Hundreds gathered in Wieden gymnasium to watch the team and wait for Dix to hit the milestone, which was only 7 points away.

The Owls started strong, immediately pushing past Unity. Within minutes of the game, Dix made a 3-pointer. Moments later, he scored a 2-point jumper. The crowd grew quiet, waiting for the Owl’s next possession. After a turnover from Unity, the ball fell into Dix’s hands. Dix made his way down the court, with an easy layup, scoring his 1,000 point as a collegiate basketball player. The crowd exploded, giving Dix a minute standing ovation. UMPI coaches and the entire team ran onto the court to celebrate with Dix and his accomplishment.

“Shy is a person that in his last couple years here at UMPI, has been very successful on and off the court in a lot that he has done and has had a lot of praise (well deserved) around UMPI. He is a tough kid, and any negative criticism he just ignores or even better uses it as fuel. But when it comes to constructive criticism, he wants it and needs it,” UMPI Assistant Basketball Coach Mark Knight said. “I am very proud of what he has accomplished so far and will be even more proud when I see what he will accomplish throughout the rest of his life.”

Dix, a junior from Stamford, Conn., not only accomplished greatness on the court, but has overcome much bigger obstacles throughout his life. In March of 2019, Shyquinn Dix was featured on CBS News “60 Minutes.” The special covered a German-style prison at a Connecticut maximum security prison, which Dix participated in after he was sentenced to four years of prison for being a part of a check-fraud scheme. Dix was a part of the T.R.U.E. program, which is a prison program that focuses on individual reform for 18-25-year-old offenders, providing them with older inmate mentors, life-skills classes and much more positive interaction with correctional officers.

After success in the program, Dix bonded with a correctional officer, James Vassar, who helped him connect with UMPI Head Basketball Coach Dan Kane. After months of communication and finally meeting Dix, Kane welcomed him to the UMPI basketball program. His addition to the team not only helped Dix himself, but also the team, as Dix led them to the North Atlantic Conference tournament for the first time in program history during the 2018-2019 season.

“Shy and I have been through quite a bit in the short time period that we have known each other. I would say it is a relationship that is built on mutual respect and trust and wanting the best for Shy’s future,” Dan Kane said. “I am very proud of the hard work Shy has put in on the court, in the classroom and in his personal life. I think Shy would admit as any of us would, there is still room to grow, but seeing him strive to be the best father, son, sibling, friend, teammate and basketball player he can be does make me very proud and with all my players and all the student-athletes at UMPI, that is what motivates me to come to work every day.”

Partly through Shyquinn Dix’s leadership and talent, the Owls have once again reached the North Atlantic Conference tournament during the end of their season.

Lady Owls Soar at Homecoming

The University of Maine at Presque Isle Owls women’s soccer team took on Northern Vermont-Lyndon for the 2019 UMPI Homecoming game. The Owls beat NVM-Lyndon 2-1 in the game. This gave them their first win in the North Atlantic Conference.

This game ended very differently for the Lady Owls last year when they lost to SUNY Canton 2-1. Emily Ward (Jr. Peterborough, NH), who has been with the team since her freshman year at UMPI, says it is due to the new way the team has been playing. Ward said, “ We managed to really come together as a team in ways we haven’t in the past.”

The attitudes of the players also contributed to their playing. Ward said, “Coming into Homecoming, we were ready to fight.  We all wanted this to be our first conference win so bad.”

That new attitude, combined with hard work, carried the day.

2019 Lady Owls Homecoming Soccer Game.

Greetings From the UMPI Athletics Department

WSOC Hanna Nadeau So. (Madawaska, ME).
MSOC Andre Rossignol So. (Van Buren, ME).
UMPI Invitational Men’s XC.
Vball Maddi Thweatt Jr. (Middleton, ID).

The University of Maine at Presque Isle Athletic Department is excited for another great school year and all the upcoming 2019-2020 sports seasons.  The year is off to a great start with fall roster sizes being the highest they have been in years.  The excitement around our athletic teams continues to grow each year.  The start of our school year also marked the opening of play for NCAA Division III fall sports.

The men’s and women’s soccer teams started the year off with a pair of wins on the road at Vermont Tech.  The men defeated the VT Knights 4-0, while the women’s team won their game 4-1.  Men’s and women’s cross country hosted the UMPI Invitational on Saturday, August 31, with the women taking third place and the men finishing in fourth place.  At the event UMPI athletics honored Coach Chris Smith for his 30+ years of service.  Women’s volleyball fought hard but fell in their opening matches on the road playing some of the toughest teams in the nation, including nationally ranked Babson College.  Men’s golf practices are now underway and their first match will be Sept. 17 at the Waterville Country Club as they compete in the Thomas Invitational.

The athletics department would like to make the campus aware of personnel changes as well as welcome some new, but familiar, faces to the department.  UMPI athletics welcomes newcomers Alissa Edwards (Head Softball Coach), Eric Macek (Athletic Trainer) and Shea Cushman (Nordic Ski) to the staff: all recent UMPI graduates.  Aaron Marston will start his first official year as the Women’s Soccer Head Coach after taking over midseason last year, when he helped lead the Owls to two wins in their last six games.  Mark Knight will take over the role of Sports Information Director. Gavin Kane will continue as the Head Women’s Basketball Coach, while also serving as the Assistant Athletic Director and Head Golf Coach.

The UMPI men’s and women’s Nordic Ski teams will compete in the United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) starting this upcoming season. Previously, Nordic Ski competed at the NCAA level.  The shift in Nordic Ski to the USCSA was made to better align with the department’s mission to provide the best overall student-athlete experience that allows student-athletes to have a well-balanced collegiate experience.  UMPI has a rich history of performing well at the USCSA national level prior to its NCAA affiliation.

The Owls enter their second year in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC), no longer the newcomers as we welcome SUNY Delhi entering the NAC for this 2019-20 year.  Cazenovia College, SUNY Cobleskill and SUNY Polytechnic Institute will be joining the conference as full members in the 2020-21 year. This will bring the NAC to a 12 team conference and aligns with the conference’s goal to get to an East/West conference model to help decrease travel and missed class time.

“The athletic department continues to grow each year and we could not be more excited for the upcoming year,” Director of Athletics Dan Kane said.  “With the growth of the conference to 12 members starting in the fall of 2020, it helps stabilize the conference as well as ensure the conference maintains their automatic qualifier status for national championships.”

The NCAA requires that conferences have a minimum of seven teams to sponsor a sport to maintain an automatic qualifier to nationals.  With the membership expansion of the NAC, all NCAA sponsored sports at UMPI will compete in a sport that allows them to advance to the NCAA National Tournament if they win the North Atlantic Conference Championship.

If any student is interested in trying out for a sport please reach out the perspective coach of that sport or contact Dan Kane at Daniel.c.kane@maine.edu.  Go Owls!

Owls Flying On and Off the Court

Dan talking to his players on the bench during a game.

Recruiting is the first part of building a college basketball roster. Establishing trust, buying into the system and creating a culture comes next. Players with diverse backgrounds, from all over the country, need to come together as one. The coach recruits them to play basketball. There are some coaches who go beyond that and want their players to have successful lives as students, athletes and as people. Daniel Kane, second-year head coach and athletic director at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, brings his players together with honesty, commitment and trust. Continue reading “Owls Flying On and Off the Court”

Season of Change

UMPI_s Emily Ward attacks the ball in victorious 3-0 game vs. Unity on Oct.

The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s women’s soccer team faced what could have been a major setback mid-season. Last season former coach, Trevor Parent, announced his resignation. Rallying together after the announcement, the team members pushed through a series of changes. Dan Kane, UMPI’s athletic director and head coach of the men’s basketball team, was there for the women when the news broke. Assuring the team that a temporary coaching staff would be assembled, Kane eagerly got to work. Continue reading “Season of Change”

Playoff Game Shows Owls’ Cohesiveness and Bright Future

Dan and the UMPI Owls discussing the gameplan in the huddle during a timeout.

On Feb. 16, the University of Maine at Presque Isle played SUNY Canton in the North Atlantic Conference quarterfinal playoff game. It was a back-and-forth game with many turning points. The Owls showed that they have a bright future because of their continuity and star power. They will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come in the NAC. In the game, the Owls tried to fly with their speed, while the Roos punched back with their size. Continue reading “Playoff Game Shows Owls’ Cohesiveness and Bright Future”

Coming Home for Soccer

The University of Maine at Presque Isle held women and men’s soccer games with SUNY Canton of New York at Park Family Field to celebrate Homecoming on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018.

The UMPI women’s soccer team kept passing the ball very well.  In the first half, Hannah Nadeau overpowered defenses and got the first goal of the game at 5:54. In the second half, SUNY Canton got the chance to equalize the score.  Allison Wakefield and Ryan Shubert (both SUNY Canton) interacted to get a goal at the 61:55 mark. The Owls had many good chances to tip the balance, but always lost the back of the net. Finally, the game ended up with the last goal of senior midfielder Jaedyn Ossont of SUNY Canton at the 73:54. Continue reading “Coming Home for Soccer”