Last Thursday and Friday, as the Class of 2026 toured campus and attended information sessions for Bowdoin Bearings Admitted Students Days, athletic recruits were offered an additional glimpse of their first-year experience by meeting their future teammates. Due to Covid-19, they are the first class in two years who were able to begin in-person team bonding this early.
Almost all of the varsity athletic teams were able to meet and welcome their new teammates, with the exception of a few sports whose recruits were playing in their final high school seasons, like men’s lacrosse.
Jorja Markella ’24, who plays hooker on women’s rugby, explained that the team had not only its three recruits visit but also a few other admitted students interested in playing next year.
“A bunch of people came to a practice,” Markella said. “That was really fun because we all got to interact with them on the sidelines, and they got to see how practice worked.”
This kind of experience was new to Markella since her year of recruits did not get an admitted student open house due to Covid-19.
“Some of the [current] recruits were like, ‘What do you know about Admitted Students Days?’ and I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know. I didn’t really have this,’” Markella said.
Markella believes the incoming first years were impacted by the pandemic in different ways than her class, since she was able to visit campus before the pandemic began.
“Because I got to do my recruitment trip before Covid-19, I feel like I got what they were getting from Admitted Students Days,” Markella said. “They didn’t get recruitment trips [because of the pandemic], so, I feel like it was kind of flip-flopped.”
Women’s rugby recruit Kyra Bishop ’26 said that meeting with the team helped her feel more familiar with campus.
“Someone on the team showed me inside her dorm, which was something I appreciated because Bowdoin did not do that,” Bishop wrote in an email to the Orient. “I played ping pong, had lunch with a few members of the team, observed practice and went to the team dinner.”
Shivani Schmulen ’26, one of the two women’s golf recruits, visited campus over the weekend and was given a tour of campus and Brunswick.
“We met the team at the golf course. After introductions, [we] walked a few holes with the team before heading back to the school,” Schmulen wrote in an email to the Orient. “The following morning, we met the team at Bay Bowls [Maine] … From there, we took a walk through campus. It was like having our own personal tour guides show us around.”
Schmulen added that the visit made her feel more enthusiastic about officially joining the team in the fall.
“This trip helped to settle any nerves that I had for next year,” she said. “[It] showed me how amazing the team atmosphere is, which is something that I have been looking forward to for a very long time.”
The men and women’s swim and dive team also met with their Class of 2026 teammates, inviting them to practice and eating lunch with them. Freestyle swimmer Emily Stonestreet ’23 said that the visit was just as much of a positive experience for the current team members as it was for the incoming first-years.
“The team is really excited. We have a really strong incoming class of girls, especially. They come from all over the country, and I think that they’ll add a lot of depth to the team,” Stonestreet said. “It should be a really good team next year.”