While most students at Keene State College go home for the month-long winter break, KSC’s winter athletics continue their seasons through the break.
For the Keene State College men’s basketball team, this meant doing a little bit of traveling. The men’s team found themselves in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. at the Cruzin’ Classic.
“The Florida trip was a good team bonding experience,” Coach Rob Colbert said.
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Junior Forward Nicco DeMasco agreed, “The trip was a lot of fun, we got to play against teams we don’t usually play against, and it made for a good team bonding experience,” DeMasco said.
The team went 1-1 at the Cruzin’ Classic, with a 106-99 win against Mt. St. Vincent, and a 83-70 loss to Nova Southeastern.
Coach Colbert doesn’t feel the winter break has any effect on the team, because their schedule doesn’t change much.
“We are here most of the time,” said Colbert. “So there really isn’t a lot of effect on the team.”
The men’s team returned the day after Christmas this year, so the team got a little less than a week’s break, which Colbert believes is about right.
“There is pros and cons to the break, obviously time away to get your mind off of basketball is nice,” Colbert said. “But too much time is counterproductive, you almost have to start all over, and I feel that we were playing well over the break, and I didn’t want them to lose that.”
With an overall record of 11-4 and a LEC Conference record of 5-1 the men’s team looks to continue their solid play as they start to see teams in their conference for second time around.
The KSC women’s basketball team found themselves playing on unfamiliar ground as well, when they played in the Big Easy Challenge in New Orleans, La. The team posted a 1-10 record at the challenge, losing its first game 46-25 to Mary Washington and winning its second game 67-57 against Plattsburgh St.
Women’s Coach Keith Boucher said it was a great experience for the team in a couple different ways.
“The Big Easy Challenge was a great experience for our team, because we got to see teams we normally wouldn’t see,” Boucher said. “It was also a great cultural experience for us, its a very diverse city.”
Coach Boucher sees no problem with the winter break; he sees it as more time to work on their games.
“You can never get enough shots up in one practice as an individual, that’s just the way it is,” Boucher said. “You have to take shots outside of practice, and I think that during break with no classes gives individuals the time they need to work on their game.”
“It’s all on the individual,” Boucher said about taking the time to go to the gym and put up shots.
Boucher said that the team has been struggling from the perimeter for the past five or six games, and it is affecting the team’s entire play.
“Teams are forcing us to shoot from the outside, they are making us hit shots that right now we just aren’t hitting, and mentally it effects the overall play of the players mentally,” Boucher said.
For the Keene State men’s and women’s track and field teams, the winter holiday break brings with it a familiar outcome.
“We give the players an option to go home for three weeks before our first meet,” Coach Peter Thomas said.
The optional break leaves kids with one or two days when they come back to prepare for their first indoor meet of the season, which for most players just isn’t enough time.
“Most of the kids came back the day before our first meet, which doesn’t give them enough time to prepare,” Thomas said, “We just hope that they train well enough at home, which in most cases doesn’t happen.”
“Some people stay up and train,” Thomas said, “Our two All-Americans last year Paige [Mills] and Maggie [Fitter] have been training all break.”
The men’s track and field team placed fifth and eighth in two meets over the break, while the women’s team placed fourth and fifth during those two meets.
Coach Thomas said that both team’s score should pick up towards the end of February when the points really start counting.
The KSC men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams also spent part of their break down south.
The teams went to Florida for two weeks of concentrated training to prepare for the second part of their season.
Head Coach Jack Fabian said he was very impressed how focused the team stayed, despite the intense training regimen.
Fabian said the team lost some ground at first due to the break, but have worked themselves back into shape.
Fabian said the team competed in an open water race in Florida, and a few meets over break.
Although the teams performed well, Fabian said they looked a little flat during the meets.
“The biggest thing now is to sharpen up, pay attention to detail, and bring the speed out,” Fabian said.
Fabian said the teams are working on staying in shape, but not getting tired and hurt.
“Its a fine line, we don’t want them tired, but they can lose their fitness very quick, especially in a college environment.”
Jacob Plourde can be contacted at email@example.com