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UMFK club teams prepared to go varsity

April 28, 2006

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The University of Maine at Fort Kent athletic department is proud to announce the new varsity status of athletic teams for next fall and winter.

Commenting on the new sports, President Richard Cost noted, "Athletic programs provide important opportunities for leadership, relaxation, recreation and a healthy life-style for students. We want to provide a range of options for our students including sports they can continue throughout their lives."

Cost is Chairman of the Sunrise Conference and sits on the National Council of Presidents of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics).

The NAIA has focused on an innovative program entitled "Champions of Character".

Golf, women's volleyball, men's and women's cross country, and Nordic skiing enjoyed successful club campaigns this past season in an effort to rebuild the programs and are preparing for varsity status this up coming fall and winter season.

Coaches have been actively recruiting and preparing for a full schedule of contests.

Each club will be participating in the Sunrise Conference under the NAIA.

Nordic and alpine skiing, both varsity sport at UMFK will be competing in a newly formed Maine League of schools and will be members of the USCSA.

Each team at UMFK hired new coaches and ran programs this past season participating in weekly practices and a minimal schedule of contests.

The golf club is coached by Joe Zubrick, UMFK's associate professor of theater and oral communication.

The team competed in selected matches through the Northern Maine this past fall and plans to expand their schedule for next year, by adding more matches against small college competition at Maine's finest courses.

Coach Zubrick had a roster of twelve golfers but only five competed in sanctioned events.

Jorden Susewitz, a freshman from Alpena, Missouri; Patrick Deane, a freshman from Middleboro, Massachusetts; Timothy Foster, a junior from Wakefield, New Brunswick; Luke Sawyer, a freshman from Lovell, Maine and Jason Martin, a freshman from Madawaska.

Team matches included, two third place finishes at the Northern Maine Community College and Eastern Maine Community College Invitational. The squad also competed in matches versus University of Maine at Presque Isle.

Coach Zubrick's golfers practiced at Fort Kent Country Club were they also hosted a duel meet against UMPI.

Jason Martin was UMFK's number one golfer this year and was a medalist at both the Northern Maine and Eastern Maine Invitational.

Coach Zubrick is eager to expand play next year and watch his young team grow.

The Women's volleyball team took a positive step towards rebuilding this year. Although the team did not play any matches at a college level competition, Coach Caroline Williams, assistant director of residential life and wellness at UMFK, held three practices per week and played various matches against local talent.

Coach Williams focused on the fundamentals and built a solid foundation for the future.

Team members were Krista Brown, a junior of Woodstock, New Brunswick; Lacey Clark, a sophomore from Caribou; Jessica Arsenault, a junior from Ellsworth, Maine; Courtney Joe Morgan, a sophomore from Carmel, Maine; Leah Marin, a sophomore from Burlington, Connecticut and Holly "Betts" Phinney, a sophomore from O'Leary, Prince Edward Island and UMFK head athletic trainer Sara Kay Michaud, was Williams' assistant coach.

The program will be taken over by Kate Fecinta, student success coordinator at UMFK, for the coming year and she is extremely excited to take the program to the varsity level. Coach Williams will be leaving UMFK to work on her master's degree.

Cross Country got back on track this past fall under the leadership of Bengal alumni Roy Michaud.

Coach Michaud had a roster of serious runners as well as "fun runners".

The Bengal XC team competed in a variety of events including college competitions, 5k Road Races and even a run up Big Rock in Mars Hill.

Team members included Luke Sawyer, a freshman from Lovell, Maine; Heather Hickey, a senior from Swanville, Maine; Priscilla Croft, a senior from Sarnia, Ontario; Mary-Anne Welsh, a sophomore from Brooklyn, New York and Tracey Guerrette, a senior form St. Agatha.

Sawyer developed into the men's top runner and Hickey became the top female by seasons end.

Coach Michaud was pleased with the year and is looking forward to watching the program develop into a solid college team.

Coach Michaud also was responsible for building the University's first Nordic ski team.

Nordic skiing has become a very popular sport in Aroostook County, along with the growth of the Maine Winter Sports Center and Biathlon Competitions.

The popularity in the sport was evident in Coach Michaud's first year as he had a roster of 22 Nordic skiers of varying skill levels.

Team members were Colin Piccott, a senior from Halifax, Nova Scotia; Eamonn Harding, a freshman from Ellsworth, Maine; Heather Hickey, a senior from Swanville, Maine; Jaime Rodriquez Marco, a senior from Madrid, Spain; Jennifer McCarthy, a senior from Elmsdale, Prince Edward Island; Jeremy Griffiths, a senior of Fort Kent, John Greenwood, a senior from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; Krista Buote, a senior from Tignish, Prince Edward Island; Kyle Taylor, a freshman from Caribou; Lesley Hambleton, a senior from Halifax, Nova Scotia; Luke Sawyer, a freshman from Lovell, Maine; Meghan Banks, a senior from Wolfville, Nova Scotia; Mike Charette, a senior from Fort Kent; Mike Arnold, a freshman from Madawaska; Noe Aparicio, a junior from Madrid, Spain; Olivia Milligan, a senior from Tyne Valley, Nova Scotia; Polly Pelletier, senior from Belgrade, Maine; Pricilla Croft, a senior from Sarnia, Ontario; Sean Platt, a sophomore from Keene Valley, New York and Tracy Guerrette, a senior from St. Agatha.

The team competed throughout Aroostook County in both classic stride and free style-skate races and also helped run a youth program at the Maine Winter Sports Center in Fort Kent.

They practiced in Fort Kent at the Maine Winter Sports Center two to three times per week and had a successful year.

Exceptional student-athletes, Luke Sawyer and Heather Hickey, were best in cross country running and proved to be the top Nordic skiers for UMFK this year.

Coach Michaud is looking forward for next season and has been involved in helping to develop a Maine League under the United States College Ski Association (USCSA), which will compete in matches with Maine's other small college programs throughout the state. It will cut down on extensive travel to Vermont and New Hampshire and will enable Maine colleges to take advantage of ski resorts and conditions in the state that are second to none.

The future is very bright for the Nordic Ski program thanks to Coach Michaud?s inaugural season.

Although alpine skiing has been "varsity" at UMFK in the past, the organization of the team and races seemed to be more of a club team atmosphere and the Bengals were forced to travel to Vermont, New Hampshire and beyond on a regular basis.

However, the above mentioned Maine League in the USCSA will compete in the state with many of the events at similar if not the same locations as the Nordic events.

This past season, student and coach, Heather Hickey along with Coach Michaud and other alpine and Nordic coaches throughout the state helped form the Maine League, which will have races in the state involving many of Maine's small college programs.

This year, alpine ski team included student and coach Hickey; Eamonn Harding, a freshman from Ellsworth, Maine; Jaime Rodriquez Marco, a senior from Madrid, Spain; Sean Platt, a sophomore from Keene Valley, New York and Mike Arnold, a freshman from Madawaska.

The University of Maine at Fort Kent and all of the ski programs at the college level in the state are anticipating the friendly competition and opportunity to participate in races on their own hills.