Noontime’s Senior Salute: Nick Bainter (Springfield College)

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Springfield College center Nick Bainter enjoyed competing for a program that celebrates tradition, commitment, and brotherhood. (PHOTO COURTESY: Springfield College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

For Nick Bainter, being able to compete for a team that “celebrated tradition, commitment, and brotherhood” is what he will miss the most when he graduates from Springfield College later this spring.

The East Bridgewater, Massachusetts native, who was spotted at the center position, played 39 games for the Pride and helped the team conclude its most recent campaign atop the NCAA National Rankings for Division III in rushing offense. Springfield’s rushing attack averaged 357.4 rushing yards in ten contests last fall, which was the third-highest average among all college football programs (FBS, FCS, D-II, and D-III) behind Harding University (373.0) and Navy (360.5). 

Named a 2019 D3football.com Preseason All-America First Team honoree, Bainter was honored months later by the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) for the third time in his career, while being recognized by the National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society earlier this month. 

We recently spoke with Bainter, who is studying criminal justice, to discuss his final season with the Pride’s football program.


What will you remember most about your final season with the Pride? 

All the laughs. There are so many different personalities on my team from coaches to players, who made me and my teammates laugh. But in addition to the laughter, there were so many great moments, too, and I consider myself lucky that I was able to surround myself with the best group of men this world has to offer.

As for what I will remember most from this past season is how our team grew from defeat. This team battled every week and we learned that when adversity hits you can either melt or come out like steel.

Was there a game (or two) that you will remember most from either your senior season or the past three years? If so, which game(s) are they? 

The first one would be my first season with the program when we played WPI. Both I and quarterback Chad Shade started that particular game. We ended up winning the game and had a lot of fun.

The second game would be beating our local rival Western New England two years ago. We came out of the gates playing fast, physical football, and had a lot of fun. I remember watching the film of the game the next day and being amazed by the physicality we displayed.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for your team/program these past four years? What will you miss most after graduation? 

Competing for a program that celebrates tradition, commitment, and brotherhood. Springfield College is an incredibly special place. We have a character-driven culture at our school and on our football team.

I will miss being around the guys and the coaches. I will forever miss hearing “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money after victories. I will also miss hearing my teammates chant, “Roll Groups, roll.” And of course, I will miss spending time together with this brotherhood.

Do you hope to stay involved with your sport in the future?

I absolutely plan to stay involved in football. This is a special game that has had a massive impact on my life as well as an impact on many other lives.

Vermont Cancels High School Spring Sports

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Vermont becomes the fifth New England state to cancel its high school spring sports season. (PHOTO COURTESY: Visualhunt.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Earlier this month, the Vermont Principals Association seemed hopeful they could provide their high school student-athletes with a spring sports season. But as of Thursday morning, the VPA announced they have canceled the season due to its state’s “Stay Home Stay Safe” order. 

As noted in a press release on the VPA website, both the organization and its Activities Standards Committee delayed their announcement regarding spring sports with “hopes that some version of a season could be salvaged, but now it is too close to the end of the school year for that to occur.”

Vermont becomes the fifth New England state to cancel its high school sports seasons after Maine and New Hampshire called off their respective seasons earlier this month. Massachusetts and Rhode Island canceled their high school spring seasons last week, while Connecticut announced it would not have a state tournament.

As of this morning, Connecticut remains the only New England state likely to have a high school spring season, but it would only occur if schools were to reopen before the current academic years expires. If Connecticut were to have a high school spring sports season, it would only occur in June.

Dr. Fauci Stresses Safety When It Comes To Starting-Up Sports

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Dr. Anthony Fauci doesn’t think some sports leagues could happen this year. (PHOTO COURTESY: Mandel Ngan / AFP – Getty Images/NBCNews.com)

By Matt Noonan

In a recent interview with the New York Times regarding if and when sports can return safely, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the nation’s leading expert in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19), believes it might be best if our country goes “without sports for this season.” But perhaps not every sport, though.

Speaking with James Wagner and Ken Belson, Fauci stressed safety countless times in his interview as the biggest (and main) priority, not just for the coaches and players, but also for the fans, too. “Safety, for the players and fans, trumps everything,” said Fauci, who is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH).

Safety will certainly be the priority of many leagues going forward, including the various professional organizations that have and continue to float various plans or ideas of starting-up or resuming play later this year in various locations across the country. Additionally, safety will be a major concern for colleges and high schools, both local and national institutions, pending schools are open this fall.

When it comes to college or high school contests, Fauci believes it would be best for gymnasiums and stadiums to admit fewer fans than normal so they can be spread out instead of lumped together. But before non-professional leagues take the field or admit fans to upcoming games, Fauci believes it is best for everyone to wait for the infection rate to lower so if something were to happen “you can stop it from turning into an outbreak.”

As of this afternoon, some fall sports schedules have been released or published, but it is unknown if those games will be played, canceled, or postponed.

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Packy Witkowski (Coast Guard Academy)

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Coast Guard Academy senior Packy Witkowski, who is from Melrose, Massachusetts, averaged a career-best 17.7 points this past season with the Bears. (PHOTO COURTESY: Coast Guard Academy Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Packy Witkowski has always been a player to watch on the Coast Guard Academy men’s basketball team, but perhaps this was a season both he and fans of the program will remember the most.

The Melrose, Massachusetts native, who played high school basketball at Avon Old Farms in Connecticut, averaged a career-best 17.7 points per game. He scored a career-high 477 points in 27 contests to go with 120 rebounds, 34 assists, 20 steals, and five blocks.

Witkowski registered 20 points or more in nine games this past winter while sinking a season-best 33 points on 12 of 21 shooting in his team’s 80-69 win over Merchant Marine Academy. He scored 10 points or more in 21 contests while averaging 17.6 points for the Bears in three New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament games.

The senior guard concludes an impressive four-year run with the Bears, which saw him record 1,518 points in 93 games to go with 502 rebounds, 150 assists, 61 steals, and 15 blocks.

We recently spoke with Witkowski to discuss his final season with the Bears, as well as his future plans with the Coast Guard beyond graduation.


What will you remember most about your senior year with the Bears? 

It’s hard to narrow down to a single event from this past season, but I would say our team’s journey is what I will remember the most.

From starting out in Anchorage, Alaska to finishing in Brockport, New York, it was a journey made by a group of brothers. We did not start well but we kept at it. By the end, we were operating on all cylinders when we needed it most and founds a way through. This culminated in winning three road playoff games in five days to become NEWMAC Tournament Champions to earning an automatic bid into the NCAA D-III Tournament.

The journey was special and an experience I will take with me for the rest of my life.

Looking back on the 2019-20 season, what game (or games) will you remember most? Why these particular games? 

Our NEWMAC Championship game against WPI. To be down 24 points at the break and comeback and win was nothing short of incredible. I am very grateful to have been part of a win like that, but more importantly, on a team that was so resilient. It is difficult to put that one game into words but that is a memory that will bond us forever.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for the Coast Guard Academy men’s basketball team (and program) these past four years? 

Being able to compete (on a daily basis), but really just being a part of this team for four years. Having that competitive outlet and support network from the team and coaching staff has made my experience here at the Coast Guard Academy that much more rewarding and worthwhile. Having the privilege to go to the Academy and represent it while playing a sport that I love has truly been amazing. I will always be grateful for the opportunity I have been afforded and the experiences I have had during my time both here at the Academy and on this team.

Once you officially graduate later this spring, do you plan (or hope) to stay involved with your sport in some capacity? Any interest in coaching in the future? 

I will always love this game and do what I can to keep up with the team going forward. I can see myself getting involved in coaching to some degree down the road because I am passionate about helping and developing others. Coaching would allow me to continue that passion after graduation.

Tell me about your major. How did you choose it? Also, what are your future plans beyond graduation? 

I am finishing up my degree in civil engineering. I have always wanted to have a technical background that would allow me to develop real-world problem-solving skills and that is exactly what this major has provided me.

I believe studying civil engineering has set me up for future success, beginning as an officer with the Coast Guard. School has always been something that has meant a lot to me and I have worked really hard to be successful at it while balancing both my military and basketball commitments.

I will be serving aboard USCGC Reliance as a Deck Watch Officer in June and am very excited to begin my career with the Coast Guard. Beyond that, I am working towards making my dream of being a Coast Guard aviator come true, as well.

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Spencer Vinson (WPI)

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WPI’s Spencer Vinson averaged 10.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this past season for the Engineers. (PHOTO COURTESY: WPI Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

WPI‘s Spencer Vinson enjoyed one of her best seasons with the Engineers this past winter.

The Los Angeles, California native, who started all 26 contests, averaged a career-best 10.3 points per game. Additionally, Vinson registered career-bests in points (267), rebounds (187), blocks (38), and steals (17) while dishing out 23 assists.

Vinson scored 10 points or more in 17 games while netting a season-high 20 points on 10 of 13 shooting during her team’s 60-45 win over Cal Tech. The senior center scored the game’s first six points before finishing with 10 rebounds and one block.

Named to the Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA) second team, Vinson, who started 39 of 69 contests, concluded her four-year career with 524 points, 382 rebounds, 67 blocks, 50 assists, and 38 steals.

We recently caught-up with Vinson to discuss her playing career with the Engineers, as well as her future plans beyond graduation.


What will you remember most about your final season with the Engineers? 

There were a lot of memories I had this past year. I’d say my most memorable one was  our ‘Senior Day.’

Was there a game (or two) that you will remember most from either your senior season or the past three years? If so, which game(s) are they? 

One of the games I’ll remember was from this past year when we played Williams College at home. It was such a fun and competitive game from the start to finish, and we really came together as a team that evening, which provided us with some momentum for our next few games.

Another game I will remember is our New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) semifinal contest against Babson College. It was such an exciting game that  I will never forget because of it going into overtime.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for the WPI women’s basketball program these past four years? What will you miss most after graduation?

I’m going to miss the sisterhood my teammates and I established, as well as the drive our team had, both this season and the past few years. I am so appreciative of how close our team has always been, especially during a time when so many of us are at home and not together on campus. We have established a sense of community and love within this team (and program) that I appreciate and adore.

Do you hope to stay involved with your sport in the future? Any interest in being a coach? 

Being removed from the basketball world these past few weeks has made me miss the sport so much, so yes, I would be interested in staying involved with this game in some way in the future. I am not sure about coaching at this particular moment, but it is something I am certainly open to doing.

Tell me about your major. How did you choose it and what do you plan to do with it after graduation? 

I am currently majoring in mechanical engineering. It’s very interesting. I enjoy it because it’s a very open field with different focuses and possibilities. After graduation, I am going to pursue a master’s in management. My hope is to pick up some new skillsets and become an even better communicator. Beyond my studies, both currently and in the future, I do hope to land a job with an athletic company.