The Orient chooses the male and female "Athlete of the Season" based on exemplary performance, leadership and committment to their respective programs. The winners are selected by the editors of the Orient.
Kyle Shearer-Hardy ’11
Although some people may say that Kyle Shearer-Hardy '11 is too short or too small, he has a list of accomplishments on the hockey rink that few others can match. The two-time All-American recently put the finishing touches on a memorable four years of hockey, and hopes to soon make a name for himself as a defenseman overseas.
Shearer-Hardy grew up in Montreal, Canada near a lake that froze over every winter, and started skating by the time he was three years old.
His older brother played for the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers, acting as a role model and giving Kyle exposure to hockey.
"Being from Canada, you're almost expected to play hockey when you grow up," he said. "I think the competitiveness and the team unity draws me to the sport, and I've loved it since I was a kid."
"I played club hockey mostly in French Montreal," he continued, "then I came to the states when I was 15 to go to the Hoosac prep school in New York. I played on the school's team, did a post-graduate year there, and then Bowdoin found me."
Though he admitted that Middlebury had been his first choice, the coaches there barely gave him a look because they said he was too small. As a first year and recruit, Shearer-Hardy was noticeably shorter than his current 5'9" height.
Although it took Shearer-Hardy a bit of time to get used to the physical, aggressive style of play of college hockey as a first-year, coach Terry Meagher gave him the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them.
"Once I got 15 or so games under my belt," he said, "I was able to calm down and play like I have my whole life."
"I had never really played in front of a big crowd until I got here," he continued, "but all the support from the townspeople and the student body here has really made it a special four years for me. The biggest thing for me has been being able to play for a team where I can represent Bowdoin College, because I never really had that name to play for before that."
Shearer-Hardy was an All-American last year and led Bowdoin with 30 points as a junior.
"It was pretty special to be named an All-American as a junior," he said, "but I still had pretty high expectations for myself as a captain this year and wanted to win NESCACs."
And he did not disappoint. He improved last season's statistics, earning another First-Team All-American spot to become the sixth Bowdoin hockey player to get it multiple times. Along the way, he led the Polar Bears to their first-ever NESCAC Championship. This year not only marked the school's greatest success in the conference, but it was the first time Bowdoin has ever hosted, and won, an NCAA Tournament game. The team's final record was 19-8-1.
"Winning NESCACs was for sure my best moment on the ice for Bowdoin," he said, "Following up our loss in the finals last year it was a great way to go out on top as a senior. Winning the title had been my class's goal all four years, and it was special...for our team to get a banner raised in the arena."
Shearer-Hardy improved his scoring to 38 points in 27 games this season, good for a second-in-NESCAC 1.41 points per game. He led the league with 29 assists and had the most points by a defenseman, while also finishing with the most assists for a defenseman in Division-III, and fifth most overall.
This season, Shearer-Hardy garnered All-NESCAC accolades for the third consecutive year (one Second Team, two First Teams), and was named the NESCAC Player of the Week earlier in the season.
With a total of 34 goals and 68 assists over his Bowdoin career (102 points), he now sits third on the career points list for defenseman, and is just the fourth defenseman to break the 100-point mark. He is fifth on the career defenseman list for assists, and his 38 points this year are the second-most all-time points for a defenseman.
After Shearer-Hardy graduates this spring, he hopes to play overseas in a European professional league. He has been in touch with Bowdoin alumni who live abroad and is most interested in playing in France, while he is also considering Switzerland, as well as the United Kingdom, or maybe the southern U.S.
Though Shearer-Hardy may not be the biggest player on the ice, he cannot easily be stopped once he has control of the puck. He is the first-ever Bowdoin star to be named Orient Athlete of the Season multiple times, and his name will be in the hockey record books for years to come.
-Madison Whitley contributed to this report.
Runners up: Will Hanley '12 (basketball) and Nathan Mecray '12 (swimming).
Katie Bergeron ’11
Along with co-captain Amy Hackett '12, senior captain Katie Bergeron helped lead the women's basketball team to a 24-6 record this season. Although they lost to Amherst in the NESCAC Championship, the team reached the Sweet Sixteen of the D-III NCAA Championship before losing to Babson.
Bergeron finished with impressive season statistics, leading the team in points scored, scoring average, field goals, free throws and minutes.
"This season the key for her was being more consistent with her shooting from the outside and her defensive intensity", said head coach Adrianne Shible. "She really worked hard and focusing hard on her defensive game."
A Bradley, Maine native, Bergeron decided during her junior year of high school to delay the college application process to spend a post-grad year improving her game. After attending the Taft School, Bergeron was recruited to Bowdoin, her first choice school.
"I wanted to play basketball at Bowdoin because of the competitive history of the team and the opportunity to be a part of such a legacy program," she said.
Bergeron, who is a 5' 7" guard, was named the 2008 Maine State Rookie of the Year by the Maine Women's Basketball Coaches Association (MWBCA). This season she earned the title of MWBCA Co-Player of the week in February as well as the NESCAC Player of the Week in November.
Bergeron's mental toughness and wide-ranging skills helped her earlier this season when she become the 11th Bowdoin player ever to pass the 1,000-point barrier for her career.
"I was blessed to not have been injured my entire four years here and to be surrounded by amazing teammates," Bergeron said. "It's a great accomplishment but I feel like I couldn't have reached that mark without playing alongside the amazing players that I did for four years."
Co-captain Amy Hackett '12 credited Bergeron's determination as a major factor in the success of the team.
"She wants to win and you can tell when she plays", said Hackett. "It's contagious for the rest of the team."
Hackett also cited wide-ranging skills and knowledge of the game as contributing factors to Bergeron's many accomplishments.
"She knows the game very well and it's evident in the way she plays", said Hackett. "She's a great shooter but if someone is taking away her outside game, she has the ability to get to the rim. She has a really well-rounded game and knows when to use each skill."
Shibles echoed Hackett, attributing the team's improvements to Bergeron's push for hard work in the off-season.
"She has a great work ethic and she certainly put in the time in the offseason to provide herself with a great base of fitness", said Shibles. "She knew what our potential was this year and she was very good with providing her teammates with confidence."
Shibles also noted that it was Bergeron's role as a team leader that was most valuable to the program.
"She does so many things for our team," said Shibles. "I would say it was the intangible stuff that was the most important to our team. In my three years I have seen a huge increase in her maturity as a player and a person and her role as a leader this year was tremendous."
Bergeron hopes that basketball will remain a part of her life even after she graduates.
"I can't really imagine my life without it, so it will definitely always be a part of who I am. I'm currently looking at some assistant coaching positions and I'm interesting in coaching in the future so that I can stay involved in the sport," she said.
Runners up: Lauren Gesswein '11 (squash) and Kayte Holtz '13 (hockey).