Spring break trips ring in new season for Vassar athletics

The women’s lacrosse team poses for a photo after a spring break practice in Port Charlotte, FL. The team dropped close matches to Kean and Westfield State in their trip to the Sunshine State./ Courtesy of Kelly Pushie

This past spring break, eight Vassar athletics teams packed up their bags and traded in their sweatpants and sweatshirts for shorts, t-shirts and sunscreen. Vassar athletes were all over the country, spreading from Florida to Tennessee all the way to California.

The women’s lacrosse team set their alarms for 3 a.m. on Saturday morning for an early flight down to the Sunshine State. While in Florida, the women’s team had two games lined up, one against Kean University and the other against Westfield State University. The Brewers were unable to come back to VC with a win, but played two hard-fought games. In the game against Kean, a slow start plagued the women’s team, who were down by four at halftime and could not come back from the deficit in the second half. Against Westfield State, the Brewers were caught up in an intense high-scoring affair, but were unable to stop Owls offense. Although the Brewers did not secure a win during their trip, senior captain Olivia O’Loughlin thought the team benefitted from the trip down to Florida. “I always find the trip to Florida to be invaluable,” she expressed. “Although our season started in February, the team’s trip to Florida really brings us together and allows us to develop a chemistry off the field that then translates on the field. You really couldn’t ask for more: a five-day trip with your teammates and best friends, great weather and an opportunity to grow and learn from playing very talented teams.”

The men’s tennis team made the trek out to California, where they played three matches. Unfortunately, the Brewers were unable to secure an overall victory, but there were some hard-fought matches, and some players picked up impressive individual victories. In their first match against Caltech, the Brewers lost 1-8. Junior Jamie Anderson won in a tiebreaker at the fourth singles position, 6-3, 1-6, 15-13. In their next match, the Brewers lost 3-6 to Chapman University and lost 2-7 to Pomona-Pitzer. The team was slated to play Case Western Reserve University, but the match was postponed due to rain.

The women’s tennis team also spent their break in California, where they matched up against four teams, securing victories against two of them. The Brewers lost their first contest of the trip to Bowdoin College 0-9. However, they bounced back against Whitman College, where they secured a 6-3 victory. The team next matched up against Chapman University, where they lost a close contest 4-5. In their final match of the trip, the Brewers brought home a victory against Caltech with a affirmative score of 6-3. The Brewers won in four positions at singles and two positions at doubles.

The rowing team took a long bus ride to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where they had a few days in the warmth to train. It was the first time the Brewers could get on the water in months. Coach Shawn Turner, who is in his fourth season as head coach of the rowing team, commented on the spring break trip. “After almost five months off the water, the trip south is crucial to building the skill set and boat chemistry required to maximize the team’s potential,” Turner said, “Just as important is the bonding that occurs on a trip like this. It helps form the trust required for individuals to push themselves to the limit in a team setting.” Additionally, this training trip is beneficial for the Brewers because it helps prepare them for course conditions that they will see later in the season. “Training in Oak Ridge is unique in that we have the opportunity to row on a fully buoyed race course, which best prepares the team for championship racing at the end of the season,” Turner explained.

The men’s and women’s track teams both traveled to Arizona over spring break, where they competed in the Willie Williams classic. Various Vassar runners posted personal bests during the two-day meet. Some highlights for the men’s team included an 800-meter run from first-year Ayden Gann, who came in at 1:56.55, taking 11th overall and finishing third in his heat. Senior Michael Scarlett took third place overall in the 5000-meter run, posting a time of 15:10.20. For the women’s team, sophomore Erin Clark finished the 800-meter run for a personal best of 2:19.41, securing sixth place. Senior Maddy Pieper ran the 5000-meter and finished 11th overall with a time of 20:07.82.

The women’s golf team took a successful trip to Florida, where they went head-to-head against Mount Holyoke College and then competed in a three-team match against Mount Holyoke College and Hamilton College. The Brewers defeated Mount Holyoke in their first match 339-365. Two days later, they took first place against Mount Holyoke and Hamilton. “The trip was one of the best in my experience. For us, it was really great going down to Florida since we finally got to play golf outdoors and on grass for the first time since our fall season,” Senior Annie Hsu explained. “It was super fun and constructive for getting us back into the swing of things (haha). Plus, I felt like the team really got closer and we did some of our best bonding.”

Overall, all of the athletics teams had successful spring break trips, complete with some great competition, personal and team bests and invaluable team bonding.

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