UMPI Baseball Progressing

     The UMPI baseball team has started playing games.  Not only have they started playing, they’ve seen slow but steady progress. They have started out the season 2-13. By no means is that record outstanding.  But it does top coach’s win total since his first season where he won four games. 

     Coach Roger Stinson said, “It’s a good feeling to see this team heading in the right direction. I have worked hard to bring in the guys we have, and knowing this is the first full team of guys that I have recruited and to see how the team is bonding is positive. We are all for each other! It’s a true honor to coach this group.”

Coach Stinson hitting groundballs.

     When the team got their second win in Florida team captain Timmy Burns gave the game ball to Stinson and said this is for you. Now Coach Stinson has the ball on his bookshelf in his office, sitting on top of the RussMatt wooden mug he bought. It fits perfectly and he hopes to replace it with another one when the team gets their 5th win this season.  That will be more than any season he has had up here. He hopes to have all the guys sign that one and many more to come. 

     The good news for the team is that they are playing the toughest competition they’re going to face right now.  It’s only going to get easier when it comes to strength in schedule. The team is already hanging in there with some decent teams, such as Brockport and Fisher colleges. So Stinson and his players feel very optimistic about conference play this season. Jordan Young, a junior from North Carolina on the team, said, “I believe we can definitely make some noise within the North Atlantic Conference (NAC). We have already competed with teams in non-conference play and I think it’ll only get better as the season progresses.” 

     The team still has plenty of games left this season to make some more noise in the NAC and surprise some people. Coach Stinson said, “I certainly do feel the team will keep winning. The hardest part will be some guys will have to accept new roles moving through the season.  But from what I have seen so far is that the guys are more than willing.  They will be there for their teammates as we move forward.  And I believe we will shock many people in the NAC and on campus.” 

Cafeteria Upgrade

     After years of complaints from UMPI students and meals that have left students unsatisfied, UMPI has decided to switch to caterers.  UMPI will have them throughout the school year rather than a mainstay food company. This change is taking place at the beginning of next fall. So the school year of 2022-2023 marks the beginning of a new era for UMPI’s cafeteria and UMPI in general. UMPI is planning on having multiple vendors throughout the semester. One that we know about is Buffalo Wild Wings.

     We heard from a couple of UMPI students about the changes occurring in the cafeteria.  So we at the U Times decided to take a poll.  The results show that more students said that they would come to the cafeteria for their meals more often now that the cafeteria is gaining a sense of variety. That was one of the key reasons students were complaining about the food. It would be hard for any traditional food service company to provide this.  

     UMPI takes a lot of pride in taking care of their students and making them feel comfortable. As a matter of fact, some would say that’s UMPI’s best quality: the efforts they put in for their students. That was a key reason for the change. They knew it would cost more. But it was worth it to keep UMPI students happy and ultimately keep them around. UMPI want their students to know that they’re listening and want to do their students right. 

     Another key reason for the change was the participation in the meals at the cafeteria. UMPI found out that more students would rather eat out than eat at the cafeteria because of the lack of variety, as mentioned above. Typical food services have a limited variety because they need to provide economical options to students while making enough profit to keep going.  

     UMPI students are excited for next fall. They can’t wait for the new academic year to begin to get good foods that they aren’t used to getting.

Spring Is Upon Us!

     Spring 2022 is upon us. With it is a new UMPI baseball season with a bunch of familiar faces and some new ones, as well. The team went 1-17 in the coronavirus infected season of 2021. The team won the final game of the season against Farmington 7-3. In fall 2021, UMPI beat Central Maine Community College twice. UMPI in that sense is on a three game winning streak. It is looking to carry that over to the spring.

     The 2022 team roster has added 11 new faces. The rest are returners from last season or a couple of seasons ago. Among those 11 new faces are Jake Neddeau and Ricky Goupille. Jake is a freshman from Connecticut. Ricky is a sophomore from Presque Isle, Maine, but in his first year as an UMPI Owls baseball player. 

     Ricky is more excited than he’s ever been to start a baseball season since this will be his first experience playing at the college level. Ricky said, “I’m ecstatic because I really feel like this team can do some damage. I haven’t been here the last couple of years. But the team chemistry seems to be there, and I think that is the recipe for winning.” 

     Jake hopes to better himself and as a result better the team. He wants to focus on getting better at hitting. According to Jake, “With the tools we have, I think I will be able to become much better at the plate. But overall, I just hope to become a better ball player.” For Jake, playing at the college level has always been a dream. Making it to UMPI shows him that all of his hard work and dedication has paid off. He is also pumped to get going.  Jake said, “I have never been on a team that has as much camaraderie and team spirit before.  I can’t wait to get on the road with the team and have some fun. I’m excited to get the season started!”

     Both Jake and Ricky think that the team is ready for the season and that they are ready to compete. According to Ricky, “I think we are shaping up very well. We had a hard few weeks of conditioning and just getting back into baseball shape. Our trainer, Brian Morrison, has done a phenomenal job with that and keeping us motivated to work on the non-baseball-specific stuff. I really think we are ready to get rolling and start competing. That’s what it’s all about is competition.  This team is itching to do that when we start games in the coming weeks.” 

     The baseball season begins March 5 against Colby. The Owls have a doubleheader that afternoon. Let’s keep the wins coming this spring, UMPI Baseball!


Do You Need Something to Do Over Break?

     All right students! Who’s ready for winter break? Who doesn’t want to be cozying up to the fire and singing Christmas songs? Well, during your time away from UMPI, there are a lot of sports movies that are must see and in this story the author will break down some movies that are on his list for the break.

At the top of that list is “Moneyball.” Moneyball came out in 2011. It stars Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the Oakland Athletics general manager, and Jonah Hill as his co-star. This movie is about Billy Beane and his ability to put together a competitive team: a team that competes for the playoffs with a bunch of essentially nobodies. This movie focuses on the Oakland A’s 2001 season where they won 20 games in a row. If you have an interest in working in a sports office with a team one day, this movie does a great job of taking you inside the office. It really shows you the business side of things rather than the playing side, which we know all about as sports fans.

The next movie on the list is “Field of Dreams.” This movie stars Kevin Costner and it came out in 1989.  He lives in a place with a corn field. He keeps hearing a voice in his head tell him if he builds it, they will come. The voice is referring to his making a baseball field in his corn field. He ended up building the field and Kevin had some pretty historic visitors!

Next on the list is the “Blind Side.” This movie stars Quinton Aaron. His co-star is Sandra Bullock. Quinton Aaron plays the part of Michael Oher, who lives with a single mom in a bad neighborhood. One day his future adoptive mother, Sandra Bullock, drives by Michael coming home from a basketball game. She saw him walking and gave him a ride home, which was a bad place. She ended up adopting him. Michael wanted to protect his family and he did that through football. Then he went to Ole Miss for college and ended up getting drafted by the Baltimore Ravens.

All in all, there are a ton more movies that the author has left out that are worth watching. Just look up the top 50 sports movies of all time and some links should pop up with some killer films on it.

Return To Action: Softball Edition

     Softball! That’s right, softball is making a comeback this spring. The softball team didn’t get the chance to play its season last year. It’s been a struggle getting through this past year without college athletics, but we found our way through and spring sports are now back. 

Sarah Duncklee throwing the ball to Melanee Terry at first.

     Zoe Alyward said, “I’m super excited for the season to start! Super nervous, though, to see everything fall out with COVID and how the games will go.” The team members are very excited to get back to action so that they can play with their teammates and grow as a team as they did in the fall. Zoe is a freshman and she is very excited to observe how the team plays together and get to know everyone on the team. She thinks the team looks really good. “We all realize that we have each other and we all know to practice how we play.  And we all are more than ready to play some softball.” Zoe thinks the older team members are extremely ready to play this season. They have all been putting in lots of work on and off the field to be able to make this season happen. Zoe also said,  “Softball is all some of us have right now, so it’s everything we’ve been waiting for.” 

     Sports are a big part of everyone’s lives because people have something to cheer for when they watch sports. But for athletes and coaches involved with the team it’s much more than something to cheer for. 

     Coach Alissa Edwards is extremely excited for the season to start and for the opportunity to get back on the field so that the team can play some outside competition. Coach Edwards said, “The girls have worked so hard this past year on properly preparing in order for us to be successful this season. This year the girls and I have really focused on continuously being grateful for any and every opportunity we have to step on the field or even be together as a team!” 

     The team looks ready to go Coach Edwards said. There have been a lot of rough patches, such as injuries, but the women have been doing a great job of picking one another up and making adjustments. Coach Edwards said, “We have a lot of very strong upperclassmen that have done an outstanding job of leading not only vocally, but also by example.” The softball also has many freshmen. 

     The freshmen have come in very determined and have already had such big impacts. Coach Edwards said, “I am definitely thrilled to be able to coach such a great group of young ladies. I’m looking forward to seeing all the success that’s to come for this upcoming season.” 

     This season has been a long time in the making and for Coach Edwards, it’ll be her first year in charge of the head coaching duties for the UMPI softball team. So even though this season is going to be a bit different with all the masking and distancing, Coach Edwards and the softball team members are in good spirits because they will get to play. 

     So get your UMPI softball apparel and bundle up at home and watch the softball team play this season. Buckle up and let’s get this season started!

Return to Action

     Who’s ready for some UMPI baseball? Yes, the UMPI owls will be playing their spring sports this year and this includes UMPI’s baseball team. UMPI baseball has been waiting a long time to return to action and play games.  UMPI’s baseball team was turned around on its way to Florida last year and it left a sour taste in everyone’s mouths. 

     The pandemic has changed sports for the time being. When athletes play now they have to wear masks on the field or the court or wherever they play their prospective sports. 

UMPI Owls at Practice.

     The spring athletes are very excited to turn to play. Among those excited this season are baseball players Roberto De La Pena and William Stinson. 

     William said, “I’m very excited to be able to go out and play for my last year. Team looks good overall. I’m hoping that the work put in, in the off season will show. I think we are all ready for the season considering the amount of obstacles we’ve had to overcome with COVID.” William has played for UMPI all four seasons on the baseball team and is chomping at the bit to get going so that he can play one last season with his father, Coach Roger Stinson, at the helm. 

     Another senior coming back for a fifth season is Roberto De La Pena. He is commonly known on the team as “the Grandfather.” He earned this nickname because he is the oldest player on the UMPI baseball roster. Roberto said, “My excitement for this season has been a long wait! This is my last year and I worked very hard to get here.” Roberto comes all the way from California. He’s had to sacrifice a lot to come back a fifth year so that he can play his senior year of college baseball here at UMPI. 

     The baseball team members are very excited to be free of this COVID mess, even if it’s only seven innings at a time. Not to mention they all get to play together again, which everyone is very happy to do. Roberto also said, “The team looks good. We are young and need to work on some things, but I believe we should be good. I’m ready for the season.  I’ve dealt with a lot in the last year, and I’m ready to finish as an UMPI Owl.” Both of these players have been nothing but loyal to UMPI and live by that loyalty. 

     Speaking of loyalty, Coach Roger Stinson has also been here for quite some time. Coach Stinson said, “There are many words a person could use for the excitement level that I have for this season.  But I truly think the best word to use is thankful…. This has been a long time coming.” 

     Coach Stinson mentioned how proud he is of the players for going through the COVID protocols and not letting it get to them.  He is thrilled to rack up a few wins and show the UMPI community that the team is headed in the right direction. He thinks the freshmen need to work their way through the nerves of playing college baseball. Once they get through that, things will be looking up for the Owls. 

Games Without Fans

     Watching games is always fun because it gives you something to get loud and cheer about. Not only that, but when someone hits a big shot, you can just feel it in the air. But since the Coronavirus hit, things have changed. Fans have not been allowed into gyms to watch games but rather are forced to watch via livestream or on TV or maybe even look at the stats after the game.  

     What some people might not realize is that this doesn’t only affect the fans.  It also affects the players themselves. According to Nick Perfit, “Not having fans makes the games feel more like scrimmages. Not hearing the cheering from the fans after big plays changes the game a lot. Your team has to make its own energy since the crowd can’t.”

     But even though Nick, like many, sees this pandemic as a struggle for sports fans and players, he views it also as a challenge for society as a whole. And even though the games may be different, Nick still believes that the team appreciated playing even more this season, when team sports were canceled at so many schools. 

     Fans give these players an extra spark that allows them to play the way they do. It may be easier to compete without the fans in big moments, but it also takes away the feel of the big moments at the same time. This in result takes away a key aspect of the game. Now when playoffs come around, there’s no such thing as home court advantage because those fans are that extra advantage. 

     According to K.J. Minter, “It’s different at first because you’re so used to seeing and hearing the fans’ energy throughout the play of the game and now it’s more so on your team to come up with that extra spark. 

     Getting that extra spark from the bench is tough because all the players are already tired from the play of the game. It’s also very different so the players aren’t used to having no one else but themselves to cheer for the team. Even when all these athletes were younger, there were the parents from both teams there to cheer and support their children’s teams. 

     It’s frustrating not being able to go to the games and support your team in person. But at least games are still being played during this tough time that we’re facing around the globe. These games give us something to look forward to as well since they give us a feel of normalcy for a few hours. 

     It’s nice to remember how things used to be because it allows us to look at the light at the end of the tunnel. We can think about how life’s going to be after this pandemic. Once life returns more to the way it was, there will be less stress for everyone and it will allow fans to come back and do what they do best: give that extra spark. 

Did Someone Say UMPI Football?!?!

  You heard it here first folks! The University of Maine at Presque Isle is getting a football team. Its initial season will be the fall of 2021 semester. Coach Roger Stinson has decided to step up and help coach the team along with his assistant coach, Roberto De La Pena, by his side. Cullen Marrella, the head strength and conditioning coach, said, “I’m looking forward to the upcoming season and can’t wait to show what UMPI can do.” 

     They hope to get 12 games for their initial season. As a matter of fact, they have their opening game against the New England Patriots here at UMPI on Park Family Field. 

One of the NCAA Footballs UMPI’s team will use.

     Most of the athletes on the UMPI sports teams are expected to join the team. UMPI decided to start a football program because a lot of students had requested one. Also, President Rice thought it would be a good idea to approve this because football is the most watched sport in the U.S. He believes that if we had a football team, we could potentially draw more students to attend UMPI as well as get more local fans to come to the games and support the school. This would help the school as a whole because the more money the games bring in, the more it helps our programs when it comes to getting bigger and better things. This includes things such as equipment and facilities, as well as just our overall campus life. 

     Coach Stinson has started his search for football players around the country to bring back here to Maine. The main resource he’s using to find players is NCSA. It’s a website that stands for Next College Student Athlete. This website is where players make a profile with videos of themselves playing the sport that they would like to play in college.

NAC Conference Meeting Overview: Spring Athletics

   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.

How Has COVID-19 Affected UMPI Athletics? 2.0


     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.