MIT Student-Athlete Blogs from the NCAA Tournament

Nov. 12, 2012
Justin Bullock, Men's Cross Country

The MIT men’s cross country team left the 2012 New England Regional Championship a bit disappointed. We finished in 9th place out of 50 teams. Our trip began on Friday afternoon, as we set out for Westfield, MA. The team first stopped at the course to do a quick meet warm up and then shower in our hotel before dinner. By 9:30 Saturday morning, the team was on the way to the meet. The men’s 8k race was set to go off at 11. MIT was assigned box 49, far on the right side of starting line. This box was both a blessing and a curse. Our box was good because we were away from the middle of the starting line, which meant that our team could stay out of the trouble from the 351 runners who competed in our race. The box was undesirable because about 300 meters in, there was a sharp right turn. If we were not careful, our entire team could get pinned on the inside of the turn, forced to slow down and potentially tripped up early in the race. So our men planned to get out fairly hard and to drift left before the turn, to avoid being pinched off. As always, there was something special about this big cross-country meet. Hundreds of fans lined the course, covered in body paint, chanting with their team’s flag. MIT had a decent-sized contingent of cheerers that made the two-hour drive up to the course.  Finally the starter brought all of the runners to the starting line. And then the gun went off, and MIT flew off the line, making sure that we avoided being cut off by the stampede of runners. The plan worked almost to perfection, with only one of our 7 runners having some trouble in the turn. 

After the race, our team waited around to find the results of our race. But by simply looking at the faces of the MIT runners, I could tell the race did not go well. The team goal was to qualify for nationals. This more or less translated to having five runners  earn all region honors (top 35 finishers) with two in the top 20. Only our number one runner, Roy, did so –he finished in 27th place. With a lackluster team performance, the cross country season was over for the men. But the day was not done! Our women had yet to run, and not only were they expected to make it to nationals, they were expected to win. The ladies delivered, big time. They placed four runners in the top twelve, and six of their seven runners earned all region honors. As the women won, they looked completely in control. Not a bad ending to a day that didn’t begin so well. The men’s team left regionals knowing that we now have indoor track season to look forward to, but it was dissapointing to leave knowing that we did not run to our abilities. All we can do is use this as fuel to drive us for the rest of the year and the future in general. 

Nov. 9, 2012
K.K. Wopat, Field Hockey

Today began with a 'man-behind-the-plow' buffet breakfast which was served up with a side of excitement as the team was chomping at the bit to get out to the field this morning. After we finished off our hearty meals, we had a little time to tend to our studies before we boarded our beloved charter bus once more and headed for William Smith. Nearly half an hour into the ride we could glimpse the glistening surface of Lake Seneca and smell the sweet odor of competition hanging in the air (or that might have been manure, but we're not sure).

Once at William Smith, we spent a productive, intense, and, albeit, hurried hour on the turf, honing our skills for tomorrow's match. It was a slight adjustment from our field-turf to the astro, but by the end of the hour, our moves and touches started to coalesce nicely. The excitement for tomorrow's match became more palpable as we left the field knowing the next time we set foot on it, it would be game time.

Once we returned to our lodging accommodations, it became apparent that we were not the only team in residence at the Holiday Inn. Both squads from Tufts and Bowdoin also checked in today. The staff had the good sense not to put us all on the same floor- not that it matters, since we're all good sports, but it has made for a few awkward run-ins at the coffee machine in the lobby. More time this afternoon was spent finishing p-sets, papers, and studying for tests- at least until dinner time. We loaded up on high-energy carbs with a yummy spread of pasta while we kept tabs on the MIT NCAA volleyball match from our phones (Great season, Girls!). Following our dinner, the freshman entertained the team at our annual talent show. This year's production featured Celtic dancing, calisthenics, and card-counting.

After all the events of the day we went back to our rooms to finish off work, relax, and get some sleep- knowing we have prepared all season for this- every 'Fitness Monday' and 'Freshman Talent Show' has brought us closer as a team and we are ready to face whatever tomorrow brings.

Nov. 9, 2012
Emma Kane, Field Hockey

Nor’easter Athena couldn’t put a damper on the spirits of the MIT Field Hockey team yesterday.  We were packed and ready to resume our exciting journey to Geneva, NY and the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.  Unfortunately, our trip started to a shaky start-the DVD player was not working on the bus, which would have made for a long. seven-hour voyage. After the problem was rectified in the form of a new bus (which most of the team agreed resembled the inside of an aircraft), we we’re off!

With a variety of plush pals, a squish-able dinosaur named Janice among them, the team settled in for the long drive.   Some took the opportunity to catch up on some sleep while others brought back their favorite road trip games, like MASH.  Some indulged in bus-time snacks (LUNCHABLES!!!).

Fast forward a few hours and the viewing of two of the team's favorite movies, we arrived at the Holiday Inn.  After exploring the hotel and recovering from the excitement of the outdoor-themed indoor pool, we turned in for the night.

The team was nicely nestled, all snug in their beds. While visions of championships danced in their heads. 

Alyssa Rothman

 Alyssa Rothman, Women's Volleyball

Nov. 8, 2012
Our NCAA experience started today with a quick, one hour practice where energy was high, and it was obvious everyone was excited for this weekend. We had a fun apparel day, where some chose to sport neon shirts and brightly colored spandex as a fun departure from our usual down-to-business matching gray MIT Athletics shirts. After having some time to pack up our stuff, we boarded the bus to begin our trip to Connecticut. We made a quick pit stop for dinner, where many of us chose to indulge in mac and cheese from Boston Market, while others opted for fruit smoothies. Our bus ride entertainment was in the form of a favorite chick flick for basically any girl who was born in the 90s, “10 Things I Hate About You.” This was probably the twentieth time seeing this movie for most people, but we all enjoyed quoting every line, and singing along to Cheap Trick’s, “I Want you to Want Me.”  After arriving at the wrong Holiday Inn, we quickly hopped back on the bus and continued on to our actual destination. Coach checked us in while everyone looked around excitedly for a roommate for the weekend. Now we are all getting settled into our rooms, and are scheduled to meet for our continental breakfast at 9am, where we will decide on our activities for tomorrow before the game.

Nov. 9, 2012

Our NCAA experience was cut short today with a tough loss to UMass Boston. The day started out promising with breakfast in the hotel with a bunch of the other teams participating in regionals. However, it was slightly awkward waiting in line for the waffle iron with some of our biggest rivals, namely Springfield. After breakfast we had the afternoon to spend on our own. Some people on our team took a shopping trip, and spent a few hours in the mall. People came back with some bargain buys, as well as some impressive shoes. We grabbed a quick lunch at the smallest Subway any of us have ever been in, and then headed over to Connecticut College.

Upon arrival, we were all handed our NCAA badges, and we were briefed on some NCAA procedures that are different from our normal games. Our warm up felt solid, and we were all singing to the throwback songs on the provided warm up CD. The lineups were announced, and the game was underway. It was a hard fought match, but unfortunately the outcome was not what we wanted. Our season came to an end, and the seniors had their last game of college volleyball. We shared some emotional moments in the team room as the coaches gave feedback on the season, and the seniors reflected on our unforgettable experiences we’ve had in our four years spent with this program. It’s hard to deal with the end to such a great season, but we are all so happy with what we have accomplished, and even though the season is over, we are still have our volleyball family.