Men’s Swimming & Diving
The five seniors of Clark Men’s Swimming & Diving showed off their strengths at the Clark Invitational this past weekend, as many set personal bests in the last home meet of their college careers. The Saturday, Feb. 6 event featured personal best times in the 1,650-yard freestyle by Josh Feinberg (‘16) and co-captain Lukas Leung (‘16). Leung also set personal bests in the 400-yard individual medley and in the 100-yard backstroke.
Tyler Terriault (‘16) had personal bests in the 50-yard freestyle and on the 1-meter diving board, while co-captain Mark Crisafulli (‘16) set his own personal bests in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke. Co-captain David Powers (‘16) placed first in the 100-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle, in which he beat his Wheaton College competitor by just over one second.
“My final home meet at Clark was very bittersweet,” Powers wrote. “It was competitive, exciting and fun. I’ve had so many unforgettable memories in our pool with the team, and this weekend was no different.”
Powers noted that his 100-yard freestyle time was his lifetime best. He added that he was happy with his own results and with the team’s, and that it’s hard for him to believe he will no longer we swimming with the Cougars.
Next up for the team is the 2016 NEWMAC Championships, to be held Feb. 18 through Feb. 21 at MIT. Powers wrote that he believes the team’s hard work will pay off.
Women’s Swimming & Diving
Clark Women’s Swimming & Diving swam strong at the Clark Invitational this past weekend, their last home meet of the season. The team’s two seniors and one graduate student made final appearances in the Kneller pool on Saturday, Feb. 6 as they prepared to say goodbye to the Cougars.
Co-captain Kelsey Clary (‘16) set personal best times in the 50-yard butterfly and 100-yard breaststroke, while co-captain Amanda Brackett (‘15) had a personal best in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Melissa Orzechowski (‘17) came in first place in the 200-yard backstroke, the 50-yard freestyle, and the 400-yard individual medley, for which she also set a personal best time.
Karina Urquhart (‘17) placed first in the 500-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly.
Kali Adams (‘16) wrote that the end of the season will be both happy and sad.
“At the beginning of the meet, Coach [Phillips] recognizes us and our accomplishments as a class,” Adams wrote. She described the tradition of “capping” the seniors, which she mentioned has been part of the swimming & diving team for years.
“The first-years, sophomores, and juniors will stretch out one of the latex team caps, then we hop in and they carry us out of the pool,” the senior explained. “It’s really special because it shows the support your team has for you – instead of getting out of the pool on your own, they carry you out.”
The Cougars now look forward to the 2016 NEWMAC Championships on Feb. 18 through Feb. 21 at MIT. Adams said these championships are especially exciting for the senior class because they were held at MIT in the seniors’ first year at Clark, but at different schools the two years after that. “It will be nice to finish it all where it started,” she wrote.
Women’s Basketball by Scott Levine
Clark Women’s Basketball had the weekend off and came back refreshed on Wednesday, Feb. 10 with a resounding 72-42 win against Mount Holyoke. The team was able to execute its offense sets at will. They recorded 21 assists, tying their season record for an individual game.
Forward Gwyneth Ivory (‘17) attributed this uptick in offensive fluidity to the inside-out game that the team was able to establish against Mount Holyoke.
“We’ve been getting it to the post and kicking it out to the three, and they’ll double team the
post, and then three will be open, and when we kick out then the post will be open,” said Ivory. “Our offense has come a long way,” she added.
The team gave up a few runs to Mount Holyoke, but was able to play with rejuvenated defensive effort in the second half. “We know we’ll need to play good defense against better NEWMAC teams,” Ivory said. She explained that head coach Pat Glispin emphasizes moving while the ball is in the air and connecting on defense. “We’ve struggled with connecting on defense, but we’ve also gotten better,” said Ivory.
The large lead of this game gave a few of the younger players who haven’t consistently seen the floor an opportunity to play, and according to forward Sami Dokus (‘16), they thrived. “Some first-years got a chance to really shine and I think I speak for the team when I say that their performance was inspiring for us all. They are always so dedicated and hardworking, so seeing them seize the opportunity to get on the court and play their hardest was awesome,” Dokus wrote.
Clark is currently 3-11 in the conference, ruling them out of postseason play, but this season’s improvement and the emergence of young players paint a bright future for the team. The Cougars will play their final home game of the season against Simmons College on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m., during which seniors Dokus and Olivia Lyons will be honored.
Men’s Basketball by Scott Levine
Clark Men’s Basketball continued their streak of playing close games this week. However, unlike in their overtime win against Coast Guard game on Feb. 3, the games this week against Emerson and Wheaton ended in losses for the Cougars.
Some hot shooting from Tyler Huffman (‘16) in the Wheaton game on Wednesday, Feb. 10 helped Clark stay in the game during the end of regulation and beginning of overtime. “Huff’s mantra is ‘I hit late game big shots,’” said guard Luke LaLima (‘17). “Watching it, it’s pretty incredible because he backs up his mantra, so we make an effort to find Tyler in late game situations.” Huffman finished with 29 points this game.
The Wheaton game was in reach for the Cougars until a few fouls at the end of overtime allowed Wheaton to make free throws to seal the game.
However, LaLima said he isn’t exclusively focused on the end of the game. “I hate to look at late game situations and say we didn’t execute, because there’s lapses throughout the whole game where you can say we didn’t execute,” he said. “If you win, you don’t look back on those plays. But when you’re on the other side, it’s so much easier to go back and dissect everything.”
Clark is now 3-8 in conference and has to win out against Springfield, Babson, and WPI to earn the fifth seed in the playoffs. “We have a tall order,” said LaLima. “We’re just going to take it one game at a time.” He said that the anything less than a playoff berth is a disappointment for this team. “Last year, Coach was saying, ‘Let’s be competitive.’ This year, we’re aiming for the fifth seed, so being competitive doesn’t suffice.”
The team has shown the potential to beat the best teams in the conference, losing by only one point to third ranked NEWMAC team WPI and being up twenty points on highly ranked MIT at one point during their Jan. 30 duel. After playing Babson in Wellesley this upcoming Saturday, the team will host Springfield College on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. and WPI on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 1 p.m.