CMS Winter Sports Preview
After a thrilling fall season with two SCIAC championships and three SCIAC runner-up finishes, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps campuses are ready for the winter sports season. The Men’s Soccer team pulled out an exciting upset victory over Redlands in the SCIAC championship game to advance to the NCAA DIII Championships, while the Women’s Soccer team fell in penalty kicks and suffered a tight loss to finish second in the SCIAC. As has become routine, the CMS Cross Country teams roared through league play and are performed very well in the NCAA West Regionals. The hype for the upcoming season is infecting, so let’s take a look at the CMS winter sports teams:
This year’s Men’s Basketball team is hungry for another SCIAC title after falling in last year’s tournament title game to Redlands. The Stags will be more formidable this year, as two-time SCIAC player of the year and Preseason All-American Chris Blees returns this year from a knee injury that sidelined him most of last season. CMS went 16-10 overall last year with an 11-3 record in conference, and with a full and healthy team led by Blees, Joseph Anderson (CMC ’12), Mani Maceira (CMC ’12), and Tyler Gaffaney (CMC ’14), the Stags look poised to make another run to the SCIAC championship. Head coach Ken Scalmanini is entering his 14th season as head coach of the Stags basketball program, and with a wealth of returning players the CMS Men’s Basketball team will be ready and raring to go in search of their fourth straight title.
Unfortunately, an injury epidemic seems to have struck the Athenas this year. They’ve already lost three experienced players to injury for the season in Aria Krumwiede (CMC ’12), Taylon Johnson (CMC ’12), and Jen Najjar (CMC ’13). The team will need some younger players to step up this season. Coach Jodie Burton said, “We will need other players to step up in leadership as well as in three point shooting. Aria and Taylon were both captains, leaders on the floor, and three-point shooters,” said Burton, who’s in her 32nd season coaching the Athenas. Just like the Stags, the Athena’s fell in last year’s SCIAC championship matchup against Occidental and they’ll be looking to rebound after the tight loss ended their season. While the team has been hampered by injury, they had no graduating players on last year’s 20-7 (9-5 in SCIAC) squad, so the team has a wealth of experience --and solid newcomers-- to build off of despite its health troubles. Look for Frannie Hemmelgarn (CMC ’13) to build off her team high in points (13.7 ppg) last season. “Frannie is a major player, period,” said Burton. “She plays hard the entire game.” Hemmelgarn also led the team in rebounds last year with 8.4 per game and will continue to be a big presence down low this season. She’ll be joined by senior starters Kalika Tullock and Jennifer Ringoen on the block, and together they form a strong frontcourt on which the Athena’s can rely on. Seniors Elissa Ronquillo and Anastasia Jones filled roles last year that also contributed to team success. Despite the many returning players, the SCIAC is a very tight league, and the Athena’s will need everything they have to pull through. “In a league loaded with talent, it will take our entire team and their extraordinary effort for us to compete for the title,” Burton concluded.
Swim and Dive
With 73 total swimmers and divers, the CMS Swim and Dive team is one of the largest teams on campus. In addition to being heavily populated, Swim and Dive is also on a historic run. The Athenas are going for their 10th consecutive SCIAC championship after having dominated the league since 2003. Meanwhile, the men are looking for their fifth consecutive championship. Head coach Charlie Griffiths, who coaches both the Stags and Athenas, has a combined 125-11 record in SCAIC combining both Men’s and Women’s meets, and his teams this year have the capacity to better that record even further.
All members of the Swim and Dive team are fantastic, but make sure to look out for Jordan Lieberman, Vincent Pai, Blake Weber, and Drake Escrofani on the men’s side and Michele Kee, Katie Bilotti and Emma Jones on the women’s.
There’s lots of exciting sports action going on with Fall postseason play and the Winter season just getting underway, so make sure to go out there and support our teams!
Editors Note: This article was updated on November 21 at 10:05AM.