Students Participate in Massachusetts "Olympics"By Michael K. Chung
Last weekend, the Bay State Games, a "sports Olympics" of Massachusetts, took place in the greater Boston area, including the MIT campus. The events included women's basketball, field hockey, lacrosse, shooting, volleyball, and gymnastics.
Volleyball took place in Rockwell Cage on Saturday and Sunday. To compete, one had to try out for one of the teams in the six areas of Massachusetts. These teams then practiced together and prepared for the event.
Kamilah Alexander '96, the lone undergraduate woman who represented MIT in this event, played for the "Metro" team. First was the "pool play" portion of the competition. In "pool play," each of the six teams played each other in a round-robin format. Two 11-point games were played.
At the end of the round robin, the top four teams were seeded and were invited to play for the championship on Sunday. The Metro team emerged as the second-seeded team and faced the third-seeded team in the first semi-final, which was a best-of-three match, with each game played to 15 points.
The Metro team made it to the finals, but then lost the title to a tougher team. "We didn't play as well on Sunday as we did on Saturday, but we had a good time,'' Alexander said. She noted that the crowd was fairly large and lively, which made the competition better.
The men's division shared the same format as the women's division. MIT volleyball players Chris Chong '94, Satoshi Asari '95, and Tom Klemas G were on the Metro team. After about five weeks of practice, the Metro team was ready to compete.
In the preliminaries, the Metro team sported a record of 9-1, losing its only game to the Southeast team. Throughout the round-robin, the team played reasonably well, considering the short amount of practice time.
Entering the semifinals as the first seed, Metro won its match against the Northeast team handily. The other semifinal, pitting Southeast and Coastal against each other was more closely contested, going into a third game.
In the final, Metro lost the first game. It then surged back in the second game, winning 15-8.
The last game was neck and neck in the beginning, until Southeast went ahead 11-6. Metro battled back to 11-13, when Chong, playing the middle position, made an impressive block to pull the team back up to 12-13, then to 13-13.
Although Southeast pulled ahead to 14-13, Metro was able to clinch victory in an exciting finish, winning 16-14.
Chong credits Klemas, a strong outside hitter with powerful shots, and Asari as an effective setter and backcourt man throughout the game. Also key to the team's victory was a deep bench.
Chong was glad to have participated in the event. "The final was especially exciting because the teams were evenly matched," he said. Because of the good competition, an intense and dramatic championship was played in front of an exciting crowd.
Men's and women's gymnastics took place at the MIT Gymnastics pavilion. In the men's event, there were two categories: scholastic, which fielded 30 to 40 gymnasts of high school age and under, and the open division, which fielded around 20 to 30 competitors of collegiate age and older.
The men's preliminaries were held on Saturday. The top six gymnasts in each event moved on to the finals, which were held on Sunday. Art Shectman '95 was experienced the thrill of being a finalist. In the vault, Shectman performed a front handspring off the horse, and scored an 8.3 out of 10, high enough to place him in the top six.
The next day, Shectman vaulted with the same routine and scored a 7.7, not high enough for a top-three finish, but well enough to bring MIT pride in its gymnastics program.
Also, MIT Men's Gymnastics coach Fran Molesso competed in the open event. His performance on the rings earned him a spot in the finals, where he placed fourth. His routine included a kip to an L-cross, dismounting with a flip with a full twist.
In the final, after Molesso performed solidly, one of the judges awarded him with a score of a 9.9. Because there were four judges, and the high and low scores were dropped, this was an excellent way for well-deserved tribute to be paid to Molesso. However, the other judges did not give Molesso such high scores.
MIT rowers, coxswains, and coaches were involved with the crew portion of this year's Bay State Games. This year, there were three divisions: the scholastic, collegiate, and open divisions. Each race was an 800-meter sprint, which lasted between 2 1/2 and 3 minutes, depending on water conditions and the strength of the crew.
Rowing in a novice women's four under the Boston Collegiate Rowing Club (the collegiate division was canceled here due to a lack of entrants) were Charla Lambert '96, Renata Pomponi G, two Wellesley women, and Jason Yip '95 as coxswain.
Wearing bright pink shirts, the rowers won their preliminary heat. In the finals, they were also victorious, slugging through rough water and side winds, edging the other boat by about a second. ``It was a lot of fun, and the medals and jackets we won are nice,'' Lambert said.
In another boat fielded by the Boston Community Rowing Club, this time in the open division, Conan Hom '95 coxed his boat to another victory involving MIT rower Suzelle Tardif '93, one of this years picks for the New England Women's Eight.
In the finals of this competition, as Hom's shell pulled away from the opposing crew after the start, Hom declared that, "we're pulling ahead - the race is ours.'' Indeed it was, as Hom guided his boat, clad in glowing purple shirts, to a clear victory.
MIT Women's Varsity Coach Mayrene Earle coached the boats for part of the training, while MIT Novice Women's Crew Coach Sue Foight coached a crew affiliated with the Quinsigamond Rowing Club.
In the open men's competition, Eric Martin '94, Jeff Tomasi '95, Sean Olson '93, Steve Carbone '94, Jonathan Li '93, Jeff Li '96, and Geoffrey Parker G rowed in an eight coxswained by Peter Yao '95. According to Yao, the organization and conditions did not lend themselves to good rowing. They lost to a Community Rowing Club boat by a second in the finals.
Events at MIT went smoothly
The Bay State Games were a success once again this year, and the MIT campus was excited to partake in the games, except for one incident in the boy's scholastic basketball event. According to The Boston Globe, one of the backboards was shatteredwith five minutes remaining in a Thursday night game, temporarily delaying the game, as well as denting the hardwood floor considerably.
Nevertheless, the game was continued the next day at University of Massachusetts-Boston, where the remaining men's open tournament was moved. Despite the setback, track-and-field, lacrosse, and field hockey still took place in Steinbrenner stadium and on the MIT fields.
The lacrosse matches were a crowd pleaser, and made Fran Lee '93 recall, "The whole scene brought back memories of my years of competitive lacrosse." Such happy events should continue to encourage young and old to participate in the Bay State Games in the future.