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Mules on the road: Championship edition

On Friday, Feb. 17 and Saturday, Feb. 18, Colby’s women’s squash, men’s basketball, and men’s swimming teams traveled off campus to compete in tournaments. Women’s squash played in the College Squash Association (CSA) team championships, while men’s basketball and men’s swimming competed in NESCAC championships.

In a rematch of their first game of the regular season, Women’s Squash faced a tough Wesleyan squad on the first day of CSA nationals. The Mules were seeded fourth in the C group, an improvement from their placement in the D group last year.

Stepping into the one position, Aileen Dominguez `26 handily defeated her opponent in seventeen minutes, winning 3–0.

The Mules’ next win came at position seven with Juliette Love `25 competing well and winning 3–1. The first three games in that match went to 9–11 with Love winning the first two and later stopping her opponent’s comeback.

Unfortunately, before the end of Love’s match, the Cardinals had already secured the victory with five match wins to Colby’s two. Two matches were still in play and the Mules relentlessly fought, winning all of the remaining battles.

Amanda Miller `25 was the first out of the two to finish, putting together a huge victory at the number four position. The first two games went to 11–8 with Miller and her opponent splitting the rounds. Miller took the third comfortably, winning 11–3, but her opponent refused to go down, squeaking past Miller 12–10 in the fourth. With the score tied 2–2, the final game was up for the taking. Miller embraced the moment and triumphed 11–7.

India Spencer `25 finished three minutes after Miller. Spencer dropped the first two games 8–11 and 7–11 before storming back and winning three consecutive games, 11–5, 11–7, and 11–5. Despite the loss, the Mules prevailed in the last matches to bring their overall score to four.

The second day of nationals was an early start for the Mules. At 9 a.m. they faced the eighth-seeded Denison University Big Reds in the C group consolation bracket.

MacKenzie O’Shea `25 quickly destroyed her opponent with an 11–1, 11–3, 11–4 fourteen-minute sweep. Following her lead were Spencer, Miller, Celine Odegard `26, Love, Greta Drefke `23, and Mehak Dey-Kohli `26, all joining the winning column. Finishing the day 7–2, the Mules extended their stay in Philadelphia to compete against the Franklin and Marshall College Diplomats in the finals of the consolation bracket.

Drefke had the quickest match of the tournament, securing victory in ten minutes. O’Shea replicated her victory from the second day, sweeping her opponent again in fourteen minutes. Love and Spencer were the other two mules to win before the Diplomats closed out the win, defeating Colby 5–4.

The last two matches were thirty-minute battles at positions one and four. Dominguez and Miller fought until the end but lost 3–0 and 3–1, respectively. 

In spite of the two losses, Women’s Squash has a lot to be proud of. They dominated Denison 7–2 and barely fell to Wesleyan and Franklin and Marshall 4–5. Even though their highest-ranked player, Andrea Lee `24, was out with injury, the Mules hung in there. They had plenty of impressive wins, and Spencer and Love both went undefeated on the weekend.

Women’s Squash finished ranked twentieth 20 in the nation with an  8–13 record. The Mules will be represented one last time this year in the CSA Individual Championship starting on Mar. 3.

In the quarterfinals of the men’s NESCAC basketball tournament, the sixth-ranked Mules traveled to Middletown, Connecticut to face the defending champs, the third-ranked Cardinals. The men’s team was accompanied by fellow Mules; the College sent a fan bus to the game.

Colby, who had not advanced to the semifinals since the 2019-2020 season trailed at the half, 37–30. The Mules were struggling from the field, shooting thirty-three percent compared to the Cardinals’ forty-four percent.

Coming out of the break, the Mules scored with an array of threes and twos, dominating the second half. Colby nearly doubled their efficiency with a sixty-one percent performance.

With huge offensive performances from Noah Tyson `23 and Lucas Green `24, both scoring twenty-two points, the Mules clawed their way back into the game.

Down 72–68 with twenty-three seconds left, victory for the Mules looked improbable. Willing his way to the basket, Tyson was rewarded with free throws, a chance to cut the Cardinal lead to one score. In the face of the hostile crowd and the pressure of the moment, Tyson stood alone at the line, swishing both baskets, all net.

After the free throws, Wesleyan inbounded the ball with eleven seconds left on the clock. The Mules swarmed the baseline with a full-court press, and Max Poulton `26 deflected the pass into the hands of Tyson. Quickly rising for the layup, Tyson tied the game, forcing overtime and sending the Colby student section into a frenzy. 

In overtime, Colby came out confident and outscored Wesleyan to pull off the upset. The Cardinals missed out on the opportunity to defend their title. 

In addition to his twenty-two points, Tyson played all forty-five minutes of the game, as his experience showed through his season-high in points. Will King `23 had a double-double, pacing Colby with eleven points and twelve assists. Jack Lawson `25 had a team-high eleven rebounds in the victory. 

The Mules continue their season next week as they face top-seeded Williams in the NESCAC semifinals. 

Men’s Swimming and Diving placed fourth in the NESCAC Championship. They traveled to Wesleyan to compete in the four-day-long tournament.

The Mules scored a historic 915 points, a 300-point improvement from last year’s seventh-place place finish. Head Coach Tom Burton was recognized for the team’s progress, as he was voted the 2023 NESCAC Swim Coach of the Year by his peers, the first Colby coach to win the award.

Individually, Neil Mortimer `24  led the way, snatching two gold medals for Colby, first in the 50-meter butterfly with a school and NESCAC record of 20.99 seconds. Continuing to break records, Mortimer competed in the 100-meter butterfly, logging another school record of 47.33 seconds.

Brandon Xiong `26 joined Mortimer in the record books, grabbing a third-place finish in the 50-meter backstroke at a time of 22.79 seconds. 

In the 50-meter freestyle, Mortimer also took a third-place finish with a time of 20.17 seconds, another school record, and Shaun Kronenwetter `23 followed in fifth place with a time of 20.37 seconds.

Lastly, Alexander MacLennan `26 placed fourth in the 200-meter individual medley at a time of 1:50.30 seconds, another school record.

As for top-five finishes in the team events, the Mules took silver in the 200-meter freestyle relay (Mortimer, Kronenwetter, Xiong, MacLennan) with a time of 121.14 seconds, a new school record. The same group continued to swim well, breaking school records in the 400-meter and  200-meter medley relay taking fifth with a time of 3:17.96 seconds and third with a time of 1:28.88 seconds respectively.

Now the Mules will head onto NCAA zone diving regionals on Feb. 24 and 25 and wrap up the season with NCAA Championships on Mar. 15 through 18. 


~ Julian Cangieter-Hernandez `25

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