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2024 spring sports preview

March 1, 2024

Courtesy of Brian Beard
BASEBALL: The baseball team hopes to win a NESCAC championship title this season after ending last year’s season in the NESCAC quarterfinals, bolstered by the return of its three starting pitchers.


2023 record: 18–16 (5–7 NESCAC)

After falling to Colby College and Tufts University in the NESCAC Championship last season, the baseball team is excited to get back on the field and compete for the conference title.

“It left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth to lose to Colby,” captain Jason Bogdanos ’24 said. “But I think we were able to gain a lot of experience. We have a new freshman class, and we’re excited to see how they play this season.”

The team’s semi-fresh start will be anchored by veteran pitching.

“It’s invaluable to have your three weekend starters coming back. This is the third year in a row that Jack Mullen [’23], Luke Chessie [’23] and Jason Bogdanos have been pitching. The strength starts right there,” Head Coach Mike Connolly said.

In pursuit of a deeper run into the NESCAC tournament, Connolly is confident the team will raise its level of defensive play.

“I think we’re going to score a lot of runs. We’re going to have a deep line up, and I think we’re going to be difficult to pitch against,” Connolly said. “If we play really good defense this year, we’re going to be championship level.”

Performance this season aside, captain CJ Brito-Trinidad ’23 emphasizes the importance of team dynamics.

“We are definitely a team that can swing the bats. We’re a very close team, a lot of chemistry. We love to be around each other all the time. I feel like when things are rough, you can fall back on that,” Brito-Trinidad said.

Ultimately, the team hopes to bring home a NESCAC Championship title this year.

“The goal at the end of the year is always a championship and to especially get further than we did last year,” Bogdanos said. “We need to be able to come up with big moments and execute. I think this is a team that has incredible potential and can 100 percent win a championship.”

First game: Doubleheader on March 2 vs. University of Maine at Farmington

Courtesy of Brian Beard
MEN'S LACROSSE: Men’s lacrosse hopes to improve defensively in its third year with Head Coach Bill Mason.


2023 record: 11–5 (6–4 NESCAC)

The men’s lacrosse team wrapped up last year’s regular season in a tie for third in the NESCAC, which put them on the road as the fifth-seeded team to play Amherst College in the quarterfinal. After losing to the Mammoths, the team hopes to come back strong in its third season with Head Coach Bill Mason.

“Last year, we didn’t make it as far as we would have liked,” captain Harp Lane ’23 said. “Every day, we’re just focused on getting one percent better.”

This season, the team will look to develop its defense while maintaining its offensive prowess.

“We just need to improve on our defense, but we really return an offense that was statistically one of the best in the country last year,” Mason said.

Last year’s loss to Amherst was a one-goal game. Mason hopes the team will learn from experiences like this ahead of this year’s season.

“The big focus for us has been on the little things. We lose a one-goal game here and a one-goal game there. We really try to boil it down to all the little things that took place that could have got us that one-goal win,” Mason said.

The team will retain most of last year’s roster and add 12 new first-year players.

“We have a lot more [fifth years] than we had previously,” Lane said. “Between the upperclassmen … going all the way down to the first years, we’re just really excited with how everyone is gelling together.”

Mason believes this year’s dynamic between class years will propel the team to success.

“We’re hungry and we’ve got these young guys who are really driven and focused and talented, so it’s creating this great preseason that we’ve had,” Mason said.

First game: March 2 vs. Trinity College

Courtesy of Brian Beard
WOMEN'S LACROSSE: Attacker Sophia Sudano ’24 evades defenders on the field. The women’s lacrosse team hopes to place high in the NESCAC championship and make a run into the NCAA tournament this year.


2023 record: 6–10 (3–7 NESCAC)

After losing to top-seeded Middlebury College last year in the NESCAC quarterfinals, the women’s lacrosse team has its sights set on this year’s NCAA tournament.

“One of our strengths was how positive everyone stayed throughout the season because performance was just a little trickier,” captain Izzy Cisneros ’24 said.

This year, though, the Polar Bears are setting their sights high and are hoping to make a deep playoff run.

“Our goal for the season is to be in the top four in the NESCAC and eventually make it to the national championship,” captain Emelia Krakora ’24 said.

The team’s aspirations are supported by a new defensive look. Unlike most NESCAC teams, Bowdoin played a man-to-man defense until the end of last season, when it switched to zone. Cisneros emphasized that the team has also improved offensively this year by practicing against a zone defense.

“[Zone defense] is kind of a standard now within the NESCAC…. I think that’s going to help us out a lot this year,” Cisneros said.

Krakora also hopes the team’s goal-setting practices and intentionality off the field will push it to a higher level of play.

“Everyone has been very intentional, and that was one of our goals this year. We came in with a focus and we had our goals and specific things that we wanted to do to help our team achieve greatness this year,” Krakora said.

Building on four weeks of preseason and with six added first years, the team will look to start its season off strong tomorrow against Trinity College.

“We have this goal of being in the top four in the NESCAC, but how are we going to do that? You can have these big goals, but it doesn’t really mean anything if you don’t have the little steps to get there,” Krakora said.

First game: March 2 at Trinity College

Courtesy of Brian Beard
MEN'S TENNIS: Tristan Bradley ’23 smashes the ball across the court. The men’s tennis team is currently ranked fourth.


2023 record: 17–5 (8–2 NESCAC)

The men’s tennis team sits ranked fourth in the national DIII preseason ratings following a strong season last year. The team narrowly lost the NESCAC championship to Middlebury College and made it to the NCAA quarterfinals. Reid Staples ’24 and Tristan Bradley ’23, who are both returning this fall, also earned International Tennis Association (ITA) Honors last spring.

After only graduating one senior in 2023, the Polar Bears are hoping to hit the ground running this season. Bowdoin added two first years to its roster.

“We’ve had the same core guys from the last three years, so we’re top heavy right now. I think our experience is a strength. But we also just have a lot of good competitors. That’s what makes you strong in tennis, because as much as it is a team sport, you have to have good competitors across,” Bradley said.

In the fall, the team had a strong showing in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association tournament, with Staples and Ethan Bradley ’24 making it to the round of 16 in the 64-player singles bracket.

Bowdoin is also focusing on consistency and maintaining a level head during matches. The team did not lose a game by more than one match point all season last spring.

The team is proud of how it consistently finds ways to support one another on and off the court.

“Whether you start or whether you don’t, every guy is fully committed,” Staples said. “I think that’s the key to having a successful team and having fun on the court.”

The team’s biggest competitors in the NESCAC this season will likely be Middlebury and Tufts University, who are ranked second and third in the nation, respectively.

“It’s tough for us last year for the NESCACs because we were really close,” Tristan Bradley said. “Our overarching goal now is the national championship, which is obviously pretty lofty, but in our view, not unachievable at all.”

First match: March 2 vs. Babson College

Courtesy of Brian Beard
WOMEN'S TENNIS: Jamilah Karah ’25 hits a volley. The women’s tennis team will play its first match against Connecticut College this weekend and hopes to build on last season’s work after a rebuilding year.


2023 record: 5–11 (5–5 NESCAC)

The women’s tennis team ended last season with a loss against Amherst College in the NESCAC quarterfinal. This year, the team is adding four first year players and is excited to build on last season’s accomplishments.

“It was a rebuilding year, in a sense,” captain Lizzy Yu ’24 said. “Last year, our captains … really led the way in helping us, and I think they laid down a really solid foundation for this year especially.”

The team had an abbreviated fall season, offering new players the chance to engage in collegiate gameplay ahead of the more competitive spring season.

“One of our [first years], Julia Ross [’27], she did really well at the MIT Invitational. She got to the finals of the main draw, and me and her also got to the finals of the doubles consolation [bracket],” Yu said.

Over spring break, the team will travel to California to play a series of nonconference matches.

“We got to play Point Loma, which is a DII school, last year,” Yu said. “We’ll also get to play Babson and WashU…. It’s just good to gauge where we are compared to other schools from other regions.”

The team prides itself on its unique style of play, particularly in doubles matches.

“We do a lot of plays and strategies that other teams don’t really do,” Yu said. “We like to label ourselves as ‘exciting doubles.’”

Yu and captain Hannah Buckhout ’24 are optimistic about this season and have already seen success in preseason practices.

“The very first day of practice, [Buckhout and I] looked at each other and it was just like, ‘Man, we’re so excited,’” Yu said. “Everyone is [at] such a high level and everyone is beating everyone within the team…. It’s a really good feeling to have.”

First match: March 2 vs. Connecticut College

Courtesy of Brian Beard
SOFTBALL: The softball team will play its first games in Fla. over spring break against Plymouth State University and the University of New England and is excited to continue practicing and competing at the newly-renovated Pickard Field complex.


2023 record: 19–20 (9–9 NESCAC)

The softball team is coming into this season with a competitive mindset, a strong outfield and a brand new facility. After falling to Colby College in the NESCAC quarterfinals last year, the team is eager to have a successful season and make a deep playoff run.

“This is a really good group as far as they just want to work. They want to play, and they want to have fun,” Head Coach Ryan Sullivan said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what this team can do.”

Last season was the first year the NESCAC was not split into east and west divisions for softball, meaning Bowdoin got to play every conference opponent.

“We split amongst every single doubleheader except for Tufts,” captain Shea Sullivan ’23 said. “So a big thing for us is trying to find consistency…. This season, we understand the flow of it, and we’ve seen all these pitchers before. So, hopefully, we’ll be able to start off on the right foot.”

The team is also excited about players returning from injury and its first-year class.

“Position-wise, I think we have more depth in the team now,” captain Kiera Dent ’24 said. “I’m really excited for our outfield. Last year, we had a few injuries…. Now, we have a lot of those players back and ready to go.”

The Pickard Field renovations last summer gave the team a brand new turf field, lights and stands for fans.

“The biggest thing this season has been the field. It has been huge for us, just to be outside and to be able to play on a real field, see our lines, practice things like catching the ball over the fence, hitting live on the field and catching fly balls with the sun or light in your eyes,” Sullivan said.

After the team’s spring break trip, where it will play 14 games in just eight days, the Polar Bears will have their home opener against Wesleyan University on March 24.

“I’m excited to play at home on the field and have lights and play at night and feel like a real college athletic program,” Sullivan said.

First game: Doubleheader on March 12 vs. Plymouth State University and the University of New England in Kissimmee, Fla.

Courtesy of Brian Beard
MEN'S TRACK AND FIELD: The men’s track team hopes that its strong indoor season will be indicative of success to come as the temperatures warm and the Polar Bears crawl from the caves of Farley Field House to the track beyond.


2023 New England Championship result: Seventh out of 36 teams

The men’s outdoor track team is striding into the outdoor season with its spirits up. After a surprise first-place finish at the Maine State Indoor Championships, the men’s team is ready to keep exceeding expectations as temperatures warm and the sport moves outdoors.

Head Coach LJ Que attributes the Maine State win to much of the team’s confidence going into the spring.

“They all had to rise to the occasion. Winning that state title really showed our men’s scoring team members that it’s about how you compete on that day, and it’s the energy that you bring and the preparation that you bring,” Que said.

For captain Matthew Audi ’24, the team looks to build upon its success in the ongoing indoor season.

“We view indoor track and outdoor track as one season. We are trying to do well in indoor but the target is outdoor and the NESCAC championships in April. If we can get good training in indoor, and continue that, we will be well set up for success. I think we are on that path.”

For Que, the team’s ability to remain healthy has given it an advantage through indoor season, something she is sure will pay off in the spring.

“I think something that is great is that our team is healthier this year. We can continue on with consistent training. That is really the key piece to having a successful outdoor season—staying healthy and keeping training consistent,” Que said.

Looking to the future, Audi hopes the team’s mindset will help unlock its potential.

“We want to finish as high as possible at NESCACs, compete as much as possible [and] set some PRs,” Audi said.

Audi is co-captained by Parker Beatty ’23 and Dov McGuire-Berk ’24. The trio will look to lead a group with promising first years and competitive upperclassmen to success come championship season.

First meet: March 23 at Swanson Classic in Middletown, Conn.

Courtesy of Brian Beard
WOMEN'S TRACK AND FIELD: Kianne Benjamin ’24 gets set before exploding off the blocks. The women’s track and field team hopes that it will be speedy and strong enough to secure some hardware before spring has fully sprung.


2023 New England Championship result: Fourth out of 34 teams

After an impressive showing at New England Championships and the Maine State Indoor Championships, the women’s track team is ready to add to its already strong arsenal of runners, sprinters and throwers.

Throughout the winter indoor season, Head Coach LJ Que has been impressed with the women’s team and is excited to watch it carry its success into sunny, springtime running. While this winter has been uncharacteristically warm, the track teams have used it to their advantage by training outside earlier than in a normal year.

“Winter has sadly not been present this past season,” Que said. “Our group is beginning to move outside this week, especially our throwers, so it is really exciting that we are about to shift based on temperature and also the lack of snow.”

One of the largest differences between the indoor season and the outdoor season is the number of events for throwers, as discus and javelin are not present during the winter. And while the team has been successful through the winter season, Que is excited to give greeting point-scoring opportunities to a strong lineup of throwers this spring.

“We have a really talented group of women’s scoring throwers which we are excited for them to debut in all of the throwing events. That is going to be a force of an event group that is going to lead our team in points for the NESCAC championship,” Que said.

Last weekend, the team finished fourth out of 42 teams at the New England Division III Championships at Tufts University, a feat that places them amongst the frontrunners for the spring championship season in May.

The team will be anchored by captains Jenna Albanese ’24, Kianne Benjamin ’24, Stephanie Chun ’24 and Gabby Phillips ’24.

First meet: March 23 at Swanson Classic in Middletown, Conn.


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