Clark Athletics and NEWMAC Weekly Round-Up (1/23/23-1/30/23)


William Schechter, Sports Editor

Greetings to all Clark University sports fans and welcome back to another edition of the Clark Athletics and NEWMAC recap. This week we have several basketball games, two swim and dive meets, and a look at future playoff-impacting basketball competitions to cover. So, let’s jump into the matches from the past seven days. 

This Week’s Competitions

The sporting week began on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Both swimming and diving teams traveled to cross-town opponent Worcester Polytechnic Institute for a meet at the WPI Sports & Recreation Center. 

Bernave Twyman won the 200-yard butterfly and 200-yard IM events with times of 2:03.86 and 2:10.74 respectively. Rowan Compton won the 100-yard butterfly race, Luca Shapiro won the 500-yard freestyle competition, and the 200-yard freestyle relay squad won their event. 

As for the women’s side, Cai Hall captured victory in the one-meter and three-meter dive events. The latter victory qualified Hall for NCAA competitions (270.37 score). Annemaire Walsh took home the gold for the 100-yard butterfly race. Carolynn Steffens finished first in the 200-yard IM event. Finally, Sarah Kersting-Mumm, Samantha Slater, Annemaire Walsh, and Lili Barkow grabbed a win for Clark in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Some outstanding individual and team efforts from the Cougz.

Moving on, both basketball teams were on the road for Wednesday, Jan. 25; Clark’s women’s basketball team played Coast Guard, losing 67 to 96. Alaina Schatzabel had a team-high 17 points in the game.

Our men’s basketball team took on the Babson College Beavers, falling 64 to 87. Four of Clark’s starters scored double digit points, despite the team being unable to get a win. 

All winter sports teams competed on Saturday, with all teams competing on the road once again (this was a travel-heavy week for the Cougars). 

Starting with swim and dive, both units shipped out to Waltham for a meet against Brandeis University. Bernave Twyman again showed up in the win column, posting a victory in the 50-yard breaststroke event. Junior Alex Bielecki won two events – the 200-yard IM and 100-yard breaststroke. Lastly, for the men’s team, Gor Bagumyan, Daniel Smith, Rowan Compton, and Bernave Twyman took home a win in the 200-yard freestyle relay. 

Amelia Kulzer won the 100-yard backstroke event for the women’s side with a time of 1:09.35. The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Hannah McLeod, Wynne Collins, Sam Slater, and Sarah Kersting-Mumm placed first in another race for the Cougz. Cai Hall posted another score that qualified the senior for NCAA competition, obtaining 271.55 points in the one-meter dive. Hannah McLeod won both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events. 

Next up for Jan. 28, Women’s b-ball faced the Wheaton College Lyons in Norton, falling 53 to 60. The game went down to the wire, as the Cougz were short only one point with under a minute to play. Unfortunately, the Lyons went on 6-0 run to close out the game. 

The men’s basketball team visited Cambridge, coming home with a 84-64 win over the MIT Engineers. Kekoa McArdle showed off his talent in the post, putting up team highs in points (15) and rebounds (11). The sophomore recorded a double-double while also shooting an efficient 75 percent from the field. 

Weekly Accolades

Starting off this week’s accolades with athlete of the week, we have Bernave Twyman of the men’s swim and dive team. Twyman, who is studying environmental science at Clark, won a total of four races this week for the Cougz. The senior from Lafayette, Calif. placed at the top of the podium in three different individual races – 200 butterfly, 200 IM, and 50 butterfly. Twyman also helped Clack capture a win in the 200 freestyle relay against Brandeis. Finishing first in three different individual races, as well as aiding in a first place relay finish, Twyman played a large role in boosting Clark’s meet score. Alongside this, wins in multiple different stroke types (including the all-encompassing medley) show Bernave Twyman’s mastery of all forms of swim. 

Switching gears to the game of the week, that award goes to the men’s basketball victory on the road against MIT. Clark’s Saturday win against the Engineers was yet another example of the Cougars’ team play. As we have seen time and time again this season, the men’s basketball team excels at spreading the ball around. Five total players scored at least ten points, four of whom were in the starting lineup. Kekoa McArdle was a force in the paint; alongside McArdle, Ian Calabrese put in a very strong performance off the bench. The sophomore guard scored 12 points, all from behind the arc, with a three-point shooting percentage of 100 percent. Overall, this was a much-needed team victory for the Cougars. 

Around the NEWMAC 

On Wednesday Jan. 25, MIT beat Springfield College in a NEWMAC women’s basketball showdown. The final score of the match was 61 to 58, with the Engineers scraping out a one possession victory over the Pride. Angela Czeremcha put up a double-double (19 points, 13 rebounds) off of the bench for the Pride, despite the loss. 

Elsewhere in the league, another close match ended in a Babson victory over the Emerson College Lions, 60 to 56. This men’s basketball game could have major playoff implications, as both teams are within one game of each other in the NEWMAC standings. Babson’s win means the two contenders split their seasonal series, with each team winning one game. Come playoff time, this could play a role in determining each team’s seed.

Looking Ahead 

Speaking of playoff seeding, the upcoming competitions for the men’s basketball team are vital if this team wants to have a shot at a postseason run. The top five men’s basketball teams make the playoffs, with the top seed getting a bye. 

There is a high likelihood WPI will remain in first and capture the one seed, as their team has not lost a NEWMAC game all season (8-0). The Engineers are followed up in the standings by three strong competitors: Emerson (6-2), Babson (5-3), and Wheaton (5-3). 

Our Cougars flank the top four NEWMAC teams and are currently holding on the fifth seed with a 3-5 record. Despite currently being in playoff contention, the Cougz face a tough road ahead. In order to maintain their fifth seed and make the playoffs, Clark will need to beat some of the top NEWMAC teams, as they will face all four top seeds in the final month of the season.

Our Clark Cougars will host the second-place Emerson Lions on Feb. 4, the fourth-place Wheaton Lyons on Feb. 8, and the third-place Babson Beavers on Feb. 11. To cap this gauntlet off, Clark will travel to WPI to close out their season on Feb. 18 against the nationally-ranked Engineers. 

The Cougars also are set to take on the Coast Guard Academy on Feb. 1 and Springfield College on Feb. 15. These two games will also be critical to the Cougz’ playoff dreams, as securing wins against teams lower in the standings will be needed when taking on four tough opponents in a short timeframe. With all this said, I know this team has a deep roster and can make a run in the playoffs this season. 

In other important upcoming matchups, the women’s squad will host Springfield College on Wednesday Feb. 1, after which they will welcome Mount Holyoke for their senior day competition on Feb. 4. 

That just about wraps up this week’s recap of Clark Athletics. Yet another week has gone by, a week that saw outstanding team and individual performances. Until next time, good luck to Clark Athletics in their upcoming competitions, and as always, roll Cougz!