Swimming finishes strong in last regular season meet

Ben Blotner

Contributing Writer

The College of Wooster swimming and diving teams were both victorious on Saturday. In the final dual meet of the season before the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Championships, the men’s and women’s teams were each able to defeat Baldwin Wallace University on the road. Two impressive swimmers, Josh Gluck ’21 and Madison Whitman ’21, even made history along the way.

In the first event, the 200-yard medley relay, the women got off to a strong start with a win. Each school had an “A,” “B” and “C” team compete in each event, and Wooster’s A group of Hannah Langer ’21, Molly Likins ’22, Heidi Likins ’21 and Lexi Riley-DiPaolo ’21 finished first to start the day. The men’s A team did not finish first in this event, but the three Wooster teams placed second through fourth.

After the women’s team won the first event and the men came up short, the reverse was true for the next competition, the 1000-yard freestyle. In this individual event, Craig Klumpp ’21 was the top male swimmer and Robby Beal ’22 was second overall. The 200-yard freestyle saw more success for the women, as Wooster swimmers Nell Kacmarek ’20, Avery Pearson ’20 and Sarah Stutler ’20 achieved the top three times in the event. Meanwhile, Baldwin Wallace’s men were able to best the Scots by posting two of the top three times.

The women stayed hot in the 100-yard backstroke, with Langer, Kate Murphy ’21 and Paige Sogandares ’21 all earning the top spots. Gluck helped lead the men to their own victory here, finishing first as his teammates took third and fourth. Whitman finished well ahead of the other competitors in the women’s 100-yard breaststroke, leading the team to victory. In the same event, the men earned three of the top four spots, again led by Klumpp.

Both teams came up short of first place in the 200-yard butterfly, despite having Anne Bowers ’21 and Noah Golovan ’23 finish second for the women and men, respectively. Each side would get back into the win column in the 50-yard freestyle, with Molly Likins and Jim Shanahan ’21 taking the top spots.

In the one-meter diving event, Lucie Redmann ’23, Wooster’s lone female diving representative, finished first out of three competitors. The men did not fare as well, but Nick Rabaut ’23 did place second out of four divers. A second round of one-meter diving was held later in the day, in which Redmann was the only female competitor and Eric Jacques ’22 finished second for the men.

While Baldwin Wallace got the best of the men in the 100-yard freestyle, Riley-DiPaolo was again a standout for the women as she took the top spot. The 200-yard backstroke event featured strong performances from Mia Chen ’22 and Gluck, who both won by sizable margins to lead their teams. Whitman then proceeded to dominate the 200- yard breaststroke for the women, finishing with the top time by over 12 seconds. Gluck and Whitman each broke records for their respective events, racing to the fastest times ever in Baldwin Wallace Natatorium for their competitions.

The men did not have a first-place finisher in the 200-yard breaststroke, and neither Wooster team came out on top in the 500-yard freestyle. This trend continued into the 100-yard butterfly, in which Baldwin Wallace had the top two competitors on each side. However, Whitman and Gluck were able to turn things around by continuing their excellence in the 200-yard individual medley, as the two star swimmers each finished first once again.

In the final event of the day, the 200-yard freestyle relay, both the male and female Scots were able to put together winning relay groups. For the women, it was Riley-DiPaolo, Murphy, Megan Gross ’20 and M. Likins getting the job done. The men were led to victory by Wyatt Foss ’21, Eli Samuelson ’20, Graham Letkeman ’22 and Shanahan. When the points were added up, the women’s team cruised to a 182- 105 blowout, while the men were able to pull off a much closer 153-142 win.

Both teams will look to keep rolling when they compete in the NCAC Championships on Feb. 12-15 in Granville, Ohio.

VOICES FROM THE CROWD “Heat” Take: The Miami Heat are going to the Finals

By David Schulz

“James catches, puts up a three! Won’t go, rebound Bosh, back out to Allen, his three-pointer. Bang! Tie game with five seconds remaining ! ” Remember that? Game six of the 2013 NBA finals. It’s time to bring the Heat back there.

The Miami Heat are going to the finals this year, plain and simple. They are the number two seed in the Eastern Conference right now, and it starts with the team president: Pat Riley. Pat Riley has always been about establishing a no-nonsense, no-loadmanagement, no-fluff culture. He works every day in making sure that the organization is running at its peak and only wants people who feel the same way under the team.

Hassan Whiteside — remember him? The highest-paid player on the Heat? His feelings were hurt from lack of minutes, and he became an expensive lackadaisical mess. Well, that “nonsense” and character is not tolerated by the culture Pat Riley wants to maintain. He’s gone. The Heat have a dedicated, hard-working Head Coach in Erik Spoelstra. The experience of coaching stars such as Dwayne Wade and LeBron James to championships is one impressive resume in itself. But that was years ago. Yet his energy and work ethic is just as notable as it was; he has the energy of a puppy on six Red Bulls, but the wisdom of the wisest owl.

Under Pat Riley, The Heat have Bam Adebayo, who not only averages 16 points-per-game and 10 rebounds, but SLAMS that basketball down the rim as if every dunk is his last. The Heat refers to it as a “Bam Slam” (Flintstones reference). He leaves everything on the court every night. Tyler Herro, known by the Heat as the man with the “Herro Ball,” can literally sink every clutch-three point buzzerbeating shot necessary. Did I mention it’s his first year in the NBA? Duncan Robinson — it’s his first season too, and in the 2019-20 season, he is 43 percent from the three-point line, with J.J. Redick being the only one ahead of him. It doesn’t stop there. The Heat have a potential rookie of the year in Kendrick Nunn. It’s not uncommon to see NBA teams up-and-coming with a bunch of young talent. But the Heat have a leader, who also fits right into this culture the Miami Heat are all about: Jimmy Butler. Butler is hungry for a title, and he finally has found the team for him in Miami.

The NBA is different now; gone are the days of it being the “Warriors Invitational.” And I know what you, reader are thinking right now: “There’s no way they can get past the Bucks!” “There are a lot of teams that will get the piece they need to be championship contenders by the trade deadline.” Let’s go through the Eastern Conference right now. The Milwaukee Bucks, an awe-inspiring team led by Giannis Antekounmpo. The last time the Bucks met the Heat, the Heat won in OT led by Goran Dragic with 26 points. Oh, right, I forgot to mention Dragic! The Heat are just that stacked this year. Historically the Bucks’ problem has been everything needs to flow through Giannis. If Giannis has a bad night, the team has a bad night. Apply that equation to the playoffs last year, Giannis was stopped and had no supporting cast to help.

This year, to the Buck’s credit, Brook Lopez has finally stepped up to the plate, giving Giannis a wing-man to support him on the offensive end. That’s great, but including Goran Dragic, I listed five sensational Heat players. Considering the notion that five is greater than two, I think it’s safe to say the Bucks will burn from the fire the Heat radiates on the court. Jokes aside, the Heat is really a team to look at this season.

Everyone always asks me why I’m a Heat fan if I’m from the Bay Area. “Why aren’t you a Warriors fan? Dub Nation bro!”, they say. Don’t even give me that toxic ideology. And for the record, I was a Heat fan since I was five years old. So no, I’m not a “bandwagon” from the “Big 3” era. Anything can happen. So when you watch game 6 of the 2020 NBA Finals and witness this Miami team winning the finals, don’t bother texting me unless you want a thousand “I told you so’s” back.

Men’s basketball botches, builds then balls

Matt Olszewski

Senior Sports Writer

The College of Wooster men’s basketball team, as of Monday Jan. 27, 2020, sits atop the upper half of the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) standings with a record of 14-3 overall and 8-2 in the conference. The Scots faced the Denison Big Red on Wednesday, Jan. 22 in Granville. The Big Red came into the game at 4-11 and 1-7 in the conference. Any conference matchup has a chance of being a close game and this one sure was. The Big Red came out strong, opening up a 20-10 lead and shooting 8-11 from the floor, and were up 42-35 on the Scots at the half. Closer to the end of the half, Denison was up 33-20, which the Scots then trimmed down to only a seven-point deficit. Keonn Scott ’21 was a key contributor, as he finished with 24 points; however, he made all of Wooster’s first-half threepointers, all coming in the final three minutes.

In the second half, the Scots were down 60-46 with 14:30 remaining in the game. Dontae Williams ’21 who did not play as much in the first half due to fouls, was the difference maker during the Scots 22-8 run to narrow the margin. He scored 14 of the Scots’ 22 points during that timeframe. Scott made two free throws to make the score 63-62 in favor of Denison with 7:19 remaining. Scott then knocked down a jumper, assisted by Williams, to tie the game at 68. Denison scored four unanswered to go up 72-68 before Danyon Hempy ’20 knocked down a triple to make it 72-71. Wooster got the ball back to try and win the game but ended the game on a turnover, so the Big Red held on 72-71. Khaylen Mahdi ’22 described Denison as more urgent and said the Scots lacked that energy during the game. “Every team is talented and every team is hungry. This game was a wake up call for us. We are only as good as the amount of effort we put in and intensity we bring day-in and day-out,” said Mahdi.

The Scots came into their game against Hiram on Saturday Jan. 25, 2020, motivated to get back on track with a win. “We understood how important this game was. We planned to win.

Trusting in the work we put in leading up to the game, we were confident,” said Mahdi. The Scots played a strong first half as time went on and led 44- 35 on the Terriers at halftime. The Scots, toward the end of the half, went on an 11-2 run. Trenton Tipton ’20 drained a triple to start the run, which also marked a go-ahead bucket. J.G. Gillard ’22 was also very active during the end of the first half particularly as he accounted for some of the offense as well as defense. He was a spark off the bench. This carried over to the second half. Mahdi attested to Najee Hardaway ’22’s effort as well as Gillard’s effort: “Those two guys really stepped up and I believe that they were a big reason as to why we brought that game home. The big plays that they made really illustrate how special this group of guys is. At any point in time, a different guy can step up to the plate and perform well.”

The Scots went up 57-43 in the second half with 14:44 remaining. Soon after, the Scots went on another run, which included a Scott triple, an offensive rebound and put-back by Tipton and another steal by him. Tipton had a game-high three steals to add to the strong defensive effort the Scots were playing with. The Scots went on to win by a final score of 98- 76.

Wooster ended up shooting 56.9 percent from the floor, which marked the fifth time in the last six games that the Scots shot that high of a percentage or better. The Scots were 13-28 from deep and 11-of-15 from the free-throw line. In comparison, Hiram was 48.4 percent from the floor and 7-of-20 from threepoint range, while being 9-of-16 from the line. When asked about the future of the team and the season, Mahdi summed it up in just two sentences. “We are all determined workers and very talented. Moving forward I’m extremely excited to see what we can do,” he remarked.

The Scots will take on the Little Giants of Wabash College tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 1 in Crawfordsville, Ind.

Wooster teams place third in Scots Invitational

Angad Singh

Sports Editor

The College of Wooster men’s and women’s track teams participated in the Fighting Scots Invitational on Jan. 25 at the Scot Center. The Scots put up a strong performance over the weekend with both teams coming in third at the meet.

The women put up an impressive performance, with Claudia Partridge ’22 clearing the high jump with a co-collegiate best of 5 feet, 3.75 inches, good to win the event. The sophomores brought home several of the events with Maya Vasta ’22 winning the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:03.53; she also set an impressive time of 27.80 seconds in the 200-meter dash which was good enough for her to come in second.

When asked about her performance over the weekend, Vasta said, “I thought I did well considering it’s still the beginning of the season, but I am looking forward to see how much progress I can make. Hopefully by conference I will have set a new personal record or broken another school record.”

Both Vasta and Partridge teamed up with Korri Palmer ’20 and Sierra Lapasky ’23 in the 4×200 meter relay, which they ran unopposed and still set their season-best time of 1:53.67. When asked about how she would rank their performance, Palmer stated, “The beginning of the season is such an odd time because you’re excited to compete after months of training, but then, sometimes you stumble.” She continued, “To my peers I am doing great, but to me I stumbled a little bit, which is good for the ego.”

The women also put up a strong performance in the long-distance events with Kayla Bertholf ’22 logging a time of 10:52.83 in the 3,000 meter run. When asked how she would rate her performance, Bertholf said “This race, for me, was a 16 second personal best and I was very pleasantly surprised to have achieved this performance this early in the season;” she said, “One of my major goals for the indoor season would be to qualify for All-Ohio in the 3K race. I also want to use the indoor season to grow as a runner and better prepare for outdoor races.” Other top finishes were from Jena Copley ’21 who came in fifth in the 60-meter hurdles, along with Palmer who came in fifth for the 60 meter-dash.

The men had their share of victories with William McMichael ’22, who contributed to a great deal of the wins for the Fighting Scots, as he logged a first-place time of 51.95 seconds in the 400 meter, along with being runner-up in the 200-meter dash at 23.54 seconds. McMichael, along with a team of Matt Olszewski ’21, Drake Pence ’21 and Joe Shilts ’23 came in third at 3:37.16 in the 4×400 meter relay.

On his performance, McMichael said, “It was nice to be able to have the meet at home. I think that our team has a lot of potential this season and we have a lot of new guys this year. At the tournament, I believe I did well and hope I can keep taking the steps needed in order for me to win conference again. I think I have some ambitious goals for myself like both the indoor and outdoor 400 meter school records, both of which my personal records are under a second away from.” He continued, “more importantly though, I’d like to lead my teammates in the pursuit of achieving our maximum potential. I think leading by example is an amazing tool and I hope that my teammates can foster a strong desire to win.” Luke Henke ’23, who finished first just ahead of his teammate Richie Pajak ’22, cleared 5 feet, 10.5.

The men were rounded out with an impressive performance from Miki Rae ’20, who came in third in 5000 meters with a time of 16:25.33. On his performance, Rae said, “Since we are just starting to get into some hard training, our bodies are pretty fatigued and we weren’t expecting too much out of ourselves. Nonetheless, I’m happy with how I ran aggressively and hung tough throughout the race. I’m confident that with a few more weeks of training during the indoor season, my teammates and I will be in a great position to contend for top spots in the conference across all events.”

“The Circle” contemplates internet fame

Olivia Proe

Features Editor

In a world where online image is becoming enmeshed with our offline identity, it’s only appropriate that Netflix release a reality TV competition about social media popularity. “The Circle” attempts to tackle the complex dynamics of internet fame while remaining self-aware of its kitsch, making it a delight to watch.

“The Circle” is the lovechild of MTV’s “Big Brother” and “Catfish.” In this reality gameshow, contestants are confined to separate apartments where they are only allowed to connect with other players through a social media app on their home TVs called “The Circle.” Players can upload photos, post status updates and message other players either directly or through group chats. At the end of the episode, the players rank each other on popularity solely through those online interactions. The two most popular players of the week become “Influencers,” who then team up and decide which player to “block” and eliminate from the competition.

The catch? Players can be completely themselves — or anyone they want. Because the competitors never meet face-to-face, they can choose to use their own photos or someone else’s, essentially catfishing other players and working their way through the social hierarchy using a false identity. Players then must navigate the complex social dynamic of how they want to be perceived, all while trying to dodge the catfish of the group.

The show is incredibly entertaining and a rollercoaster experience. Viewers watch the competitors create real connections with each other, even within their false identities, and strategize as The Circle slowly takes over their lives. It is fascinating and terrifying how quickly the players accept the social medium’s rules. And though each player is visibly distressed every time their TV lights up with an alert from The Circle, once eliminated, they each express that they will genuinely miss being pestered by its constant updates and messages from online friends. Viewers will also find themselves attached to the contestants within just a few episodes, feeling as if they have entered a quasi-friend group alongside them. The quirky games and hilarious, touching interactions and drama will captivate even the most reality TV-averse viewers.

Despite its tackiness, “The Circle” does take on the very real impacts that social media has on our perceptions of ourselves and others. Though many of the players choose to enter the competition as themselves, others choose to catfish the players because of concerns that they may have around their image or identity. Competitors who feel that they would not be accepted for their outward appearance still continue to make genuine connections with their own personalities and someone else’s photos. Players find themselves wondering if they would have had such a strong connection with the catfish had they presented themselves with real pictures, and it causes the audience to call into question their own biases they may have in meeting new people.

Ultimately, “The Circle” is little more than a guilty pleasure binge, but it still holds some worth in the themes it highlights. It does raise questions about whether or not authenticity is valued in the social media age — and at the end of the day, teaches us that there is still promise in being our most genuine selves, on and offline.

Conclusion to “Star Wars” trilogy falls flat

Colin Tobin

Contributing Writer

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

“Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker,” directed by J.J. Abrams, concludes the current trilogy of films and serves as the grand finale to the Skywalker saga.

The discourse surrounding Star Wars radically changed after the release of Episode XIII, “The Last Jedi” in 2017. Fans were polarized, some absolutely loving it and others loathing it. I fell somewhere in the middle of that. There were aspects that I really enjoyed and others not so much. Episode IX was given a near impossible task: trying to win back those who disliked XIII while keeping those who liked it onboard. It ended up not fully committing to either one.

I’ll start out with what I thought were the positives. Once again, the lightsaber battles are really well-choreographed and look great, specifically the ones between Rey and Kylo Ren in the rain and between Kylo Ren and the Emperor’s guards. Episode IX had another difficult task: what to do with Leia after Carrie Fisher’s death. Thankfully they chose to use unused footage from previous films instead of doing something digitally, and it works well within the narrative. Adam Driver is the highlight as Kylo Ren is finally redeemed after a touching scene with a memory of his father, Han Solo.

“The Rise of Skywalker” is full of missed opportunities. The biggest, in my opinion, being with the character, Finn, portrayed by John Boyega. Finn’s only purpose throughout the movie seems to be yelling “REY!” when she appears to be in trouble. Also, he is hinted at being force-sensitive and this is never explored at all. “The Force Awakens” gives him a great setup as a stormtrooper who escapes The First Order and holds his own against Kylo Ren with a lightsaber. How cool would it have been to see an ex-stormtrooper get Jedi training? Sadly, he didn’t receive as much development as some characters.

The biggest, gaping problem with “The Rise of Skywalker” is the lineage of Rey and the return of Emperor Palpatine. Why does Rey have to be Palpatine’s granddaughter? When did the Emperor have a kid? Who had a kid with him and why? The ideas I loved most about Rian Johnson’s “The Last Jedi” were that it said you didn’t have to come from a special bloodline to have the force and that they were going to let the past go. This one throws all that out the window by taking back that Rey’s parents were nobodies and that the Emperor is still alive and running things.

Episode IX and this entire new trilogy clearly did not have a plan going in and it shows. It’s the culmination of two filmmakers’ completely different visons. It definitely isn’t the worst of the series, but it’s nowhere close to the best. There are some cool moments, but it just isn’t completely satisfying as the end to a saga of this magnitude.

If you were disappointed with “The Rise of Skywalker” and still want Star Wars content, I’d highly recommend checking out “The Mandalorian” on Disney+ if you haven’t already.