Usually the North Atlantic Conference meets every year so that the athletic directors from all the schools can come together and create their schedules for the season ahead.
This season is unique. As everyone already knows, COVID took the world by storm last year and all spring sports were canceled. The advantage we have this year is that we know that COVID is still a pretty big deal. Thus, we can plan for it.
New Englanders everywhere have lost something . . . our beloved quarterback, Tom Brady. After leaving the New England Patriots, Brady joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and won his seventh Super Bowl. Thus, he has collected more Super Bowl rings than any single NFL team. Brady has become one of, if not the, greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.
Brady’s near 20-year career with the New England Patriots came to an end in 2019. This left heartbroken Patriots fans to watch the New England dynasty fall to shambles in a single season. Some New Englanders chose to embrace the new change and root for Brady after the move to the Buccaneers. Andrew Hewitt, a 20-year-old local to northern Maine, said he’s more of a Patriots fan than a Brady fan. And if Patriots games and Buccaneers games were played at the same time, he would watch the Patriots play, regardless of the lack of Brady.
Having only ever watched the Patriots with Brady as the quarterback, it’s not surprising that Andrew is still a huge Brady fan. He claimed, “I rooted for Brady, not the Bucs.” This shows that Brady’s winning career and past development as a player with the Patriots didn’t go to waste after his leaving.
Although divorced, the Patriots and Tom Brady will still be on Andrew’s television. He looks forward to watching both play in the future, without any hard feeling toward Brady or the Patriots.
Being younger, Andrew only watched the Patriots with Brady. So, what about someone who watched the Patriots without Brady? Toby Arsenault, a 43-year-old longtime Patriot’s fan, said that he’s watched Brady rise through the ranks. From Brady’s 199th pick in the sixth round 2000 NFL draft, to 20 years later as the king of the NFL, Toby watched it all. He claimed, “When you have a player of that caliber, you just want to watch them succeed no matter the team.” And Toby stayed true to this statement, watching both the Patriots and Brady. Admittedly watching more Patriots games this last season than Buccaneers games, Toby said he’d “Definitely watch more Bucs games after the Super Bowl.”
Toby hopes Brady continues to succeed with the Buccaneers. He said, “We’re all fortunate to say that we watched Brady play. When we have grandkids and watch football with them, we can say we watched Brady.”
This year has been difficult for everyone, including Christmastime’s very own, Santa Claus. The COVID-19 global pandemic has affected hundreds of areas worldwide and even places such as the North Pole. Santa, Mrs. Claus and all the elves at the North Pole have had to adapt to COVID-19 regulations. With Santa’s older age and weight, he is at high risk for Coronavirus, so he has to be extra safe. Yet even in the face of a global pandemic, Santa is still preparing to deliver millions of presents on Christmas Eve so that children around the world can have a good holiday.
People may have seen their local “Santa Claus” in shopping malls or Christmas tree farms around the country. The real Father Christmas has been preparing for months on end at the North Pole with his elves. When COVID-19 took over the world earlier this year, the North Pole was no exception. The elves in the North Pole do not travel much and Santa only journeys outside the area if he has an important meeting. Although there haven’t been any positive COVID-19 cases at the Pole, Santa has all the residents taking precautions as they make toys for Christmastime.
Santa’s Workshop and everyone at the North Pole have been following CDC guidelines. Santa’s elves have been socially distancing and staying six feet apart in the workshop. Due to this regulation, a large number of elves cannot work in the same space, because of the problems with social distancing. The elves can no longer build toys in large groups at the workshop, so they have been working longer hours. These elves are continuing to stay positive, despite the change in their working environment. Their main goal is to make children happy on Christmas Day.
“It has been a very different year at the North Pole. We still drink plenty of hot chocolate and sing Christmas carols, but it hasn’t been the same. Santa has done a great job cheering us up,” Buddy, a North Pole elf, said. “We have been working longer hours, but we do not mind because our ultimate goal is for every child to have a wonderful Christmas. We want to do everything we can to cheer them up from this terrible year.”
Everyone in the North Pole has been wearing masks: Christmas themed ones, of course. Every elf working on toys has been using hand sanitizer and wet wipes. Although elves have had to follow all of these regulations, they are still very energetic and excited for Christmas, as usual.
Santa recognizes that families around the world, especially in the U.S., may be struggling financially. He wants to do as much as he can for these families. Santa plans on delivering to all children across the world who are deserving. Many individuals died from the virus this year. People also lost their jobs throughout this year, so they were unable to provide for their children. With COVID-19 playing a huge role in the economy and health of the United States’ population, Santa and Mrs. Claus want to make this Christmas a special one for families in need.
“When this virus hit, we didn’t know what to do. We could see that the elves were losing some of their Christmas spirit and that the reindeer were upset,” Mrs. Claus said. “Nick has been working endlessly to make everyone feel safe and I couldn’t be prouder of how he has dealt with everything.”
Christmas is a year-round event at the North Pole and when COVID-19 surprised the world, Santa acted quickly. The North Pole was able to continue its progress in the workshop, while following CDC regulations. There haven’t been any parties or gatherings this year at the North Pole, but the elves have continued to show Christmas spirit. Santa will be delivering gifts on Christmas Eve, like any other year. His sleigh will be sanitized and ready to go for his long journey delivering gifts. Despite this eventful year, Santa is doing everything he can to make this holiday season a memorable one for millions of families in the world.
In our first article on how the coronavirus has affected UMPI athletics, we focused on the baseball, volleyball and golf teams. We took a look at the differences the coronavirus has made as well as its impact. In this section, we will focus on the soccer and cross country teams.
COVID-19 made soccer practice extremely difficult. According to Courtney Richard, they had to be separate from their teammates for three weeks. On the upside, the soccer team didn’t need to wear masks during practice as long as they maintained a safe social distance of six feet. “For the first three weeks we couldn’t share equipment,” Richard said.
After those three weeks, the players were finally allowed to share equipment, but they still couldn’t have contact with their teammates. During practice, the soccer team had three groups of five to six teammates per group. The athletes had to keep their masks on until they got on the field, because once they were on the field, they were more than six feet away from one another.
After every practice, the team members would usually gather and talk a little bit. But with COVID-19 around this year, they weren’t able to huddle up after practice. “Practice was very separate and more individualized compared to last year,” Richard said.
Cross country team members also had practices this fall. According to runner Campton Tinkham, COVID-19 didn’t play a significant factor in their practices. This is because cross country is more of an individual sport. Since the runners on the team were already spread out, they were able to avoid wearing masks for the most part.
“We didn’t really have a problem with sharing equipment because there is not really anything to share.” Practice was fairly simple for the cross country team. They would line up 15 feet apart and warm up. After the runners got loose and warmed up, the coach would give all runners their run for the day.
Most sports this year have taken a hit when it comes to extra circumstances and rules. But the university is trying to keep us as safe as possible. Fortunately there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and we will make it out of COVID-19.
It’s just a matter of working through it and doing your individual job whether that be just as a student or as a student athlete. If we all play our part in keeping our community safe, that’ll be one less place the government has to worry about as a whole when it comes to the spread of the virus. And remember, there’re always better days ahead.
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.
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.
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.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org. Go Owls!
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”
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”