LETTER FROM THE EDITORS We’re writing this letter the day before we decided it would be due. Some things never change. But we’re writing this letter at our respective homes, on a zoom call, the same way we’ve been designing this issue from start to finish…so some things do change. And as we go to print, we still have no indication of how permanent of a change this will be. So we decided one more thing wouldn’t change – our ongoing commitment to sharing the stories of Northeastern’s student-athletes. When we realized the severity of this pandemic, most of our stories had already been assigned. But stories change. They twist and turn; rise and fall. Many of our staff members are part of the group of student-athletes whose seasons – and for some, their careers – came to a sudden end. It isn’t fair, but the brutal reality is that life is rarely fair. But we can all choose how to react. For us, it meant that approximately half of our pages are dedicated to our seniors, some of them suggested by you via our social media platforms. We recognize how great of an honor it is to be the voice of the student-athlete body. We hope that will never change. And we hope that wherever you are reading this issue, our fifth, it brings you that much closer to campus – to the DogHouse, the N-Zone, Parsons, Dedham, Friedman, Cabot, TD Garden or Walter Brown on a Beanpot Monday or Tuesday. Someday soon, we’ll see you there.
STAFF EDITORS IN CHIEF
SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM
JENNA CICCOTELLI, ADAM GOSTOMELSKY
JUSTIN CHEN, ERIN SAVAGE
BRIAN BAE, CHRISTIAN GOMEZ
MEGAN BARRETT, MEGAN CLARK, SAM KLEIN, COURTNEY LAPOINTE
JOSH CHASKES, ROHAN CHATURVEDI, STACH JARAN, HUY NGUYEN, SARAH OLENDER
KIERA BOHEN, JOSH CHASKES, JUSTIN CHEN, SARA COREY, TYLER DOLPH, ADAM DOUCETTE, BECCA GADDY, CHRISTIAN GOMEZ, MATT LEVIN, LAUREN MACINNIS, ERIK MCMILLIAN, MADISON NEUNER, HUY NGUYEN, SARAH OLENDER, MICHAEL RUBERTO, BRIAN SHIM
SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR ERIN SAVAGE
BRIAN BAE, MEGAN BARRETT, TYLER DOLPH, NINA ELLERY, CHRISTIAN GOMEZ, SAM KLEIN, MARCO LAM, ZEKE LIBATIQUE, MADISON NEUNER, SARAH OLENDER
The Red & Black would like to thank Northeastern Athletics for their support.
@NUREDANDBLACK NUREDANDBLACK.COM NUREDANDBLACK@GMAIL.COM
FRONT COVER PHOTO BY BRIAN BAE (CHLOE AURARD #12, JESS SCHRYVER #20) BACK COVER PHOTO BY MARCO LAM (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, ALEXIS HILL #4, SHANNON TODD #14, STELLA CLARK #11, CENTURY MCCARTNEY)
TABLE OF CONTENTS 2 THE ART OF THE THREE Hear from some of the best sharpshooters in Northeastern basketball history.
26 IN THE DOGHOUSE What does the best student section in New England sound like?
4 TATTOO TOURS The story within the ink from Omar Da Naia and Myles Franklin.
28 THE BEST SOUS CHEFS IN THE WORLD The ins and outs of Northeastern’s equipment managers.
6 110 YEARS OF HISTORY Travel back in time to celebrate the 110th anniversary of Matthews Arena.
30 A FRIENDLY RIVALRY How competition for a single seat created a lifelong friendship.
8 THE FRANKEL FILE The story behind one of the top goalies in women’s hockey – Aerin Frankel.
32 HOMEGROWN GRIT The trials and triumphs of playing baseball in New England.
10 LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER What it’s like to grow up with a Hockey Hall of Famer for a dad, from Lauren MacInnis.
34 IN IT FOR THE LONG RUN Erik McMillan’s journey from the Air Force Academy to Northeastern.
12 CAPTAIN CAPPY The backbone behind the winningest team in women’s hockey history: Paige Capistran.
36 HAMMERING IT HOME After winning gold, track captain Erica Belvit has her sight set on All-American.
14 ‘WE KNEW IT WAS IN OUR HANDS’ An oral history of the 2020 Women’s Beanpot Championship.
38 FLYING WITH HIGH SPIRITS Brigette Muller radiates positivity on the track team.
18 ‘IT’S DO OR DIE NOW’ An oral history of the 2020 Men’s Beanpot Championship.
39 DEDICATION AWARD WINNERS Meet the winners of the second annual Red & Black Dedication Award.
22 NOT A SOLO JOURNEY Zach Solow’s winding road to Huntington Ave.
PHOTO BY TYLER DOLPH
THE ART OF THE THREE Hear from some of the best sharp shooters in NU Basketball history BY JOSH CHASKES
hannon Todd shoots from three-point range off a handoff in the women’s basketball game against Boston University. Jordan Roland unloads from well behind the arc in the men’s matchup with Davidson. Bolden Brace steps back and launches a three from the right wing against Towson. Stella Clark gets her three off before the College of Charleston defender can get over to block it. Different players. Different shots. Same result. There’s nothing in basketball quite like a made threepointer. In addition to the obvious benefit of an extra point over normal shots, there’s an added thrill to watching someone hit the mark from so far away. Professional players like Stephen Curry, Reggie Miller, and Kyle Korver have become stars for their performances that make three-point shooting look easy. It’s not. “Make sure your mechanics are in order, get reps, and make sure you’re working hard every day,” said Roland, a redshirt senior, outlining the steps to become a good shooter. He holds the record for made threes in a season for Northeastern’s men’s team with 99. The game of basketball has changed over the past 20 years to favor sharpshooters more than big, physical centers, doubtlessly influenced by the long-range shooting revolution in the NBA. Basketball teams today shoot 37.5% of their shots from behind the three-point line, as opposed to just 15.7% in 1986-1987, the first season it existed. For smaller guards like Roland and Clark, who both have a lethal longrange game, this change is welcome. “I think it creates another level to the game,” Clark, a junior, said. “It just makes it harder for the defense to guard because there’s so many more options.” Coming from Manasquan High School in New Jersey, she developed her game while playing alongside some elite shooters. “On my high school team I played with Marina Mabrey, who’s actually in the WNBA now, she plays for the LA Sparks,” she said. “She was just an excellent shooter, so were all of her sisters, so I feel like they were role models for me.” It can be easy to just rely on the three point shot with all the shooting talent the women’s team boasts, but head coach
MEN’S & WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
SHANNON TODD PHOTO BY MEGAN BARRETT
STELLA CLARK PHOTO BY ZEKE LIBATIQUE
JORDAN ROLAND PHOTO BY SARAH OLENDER BOLDEN BRACE PHOTO BY SARAH OLENDER
IN 1979-80, T HE FIRST YEAR OF THE 3PT LINE , THE AVERAGE NBA GAME SAW 2.8 3PT FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS. IN 2019-20, THE AVERAGE NBA GAME FEATURED 33.9 3PT FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS. Kelly Cole loves to use her arsenal of deep threats to open up the paint and make it difficult for opposing teams. “Either they’re going to stay out on your shooters so they can’t hit the threes and they’re going to leave you one on one in the paint, or vice versa,” Cole said. “When you’ve got a versatile team that can do both, that’s when teams really struggle.” Todd, a senior, shares Clark’s ability to hit long shots, ranking in the top five in made three-pointers in program history, but her career could have gone very differently. Todd was fairly tall in high school and could’ve played as a big, but other reasons made her stick to playing guard. “When I was really young I grew up as a point guard because I was a lot shorter than everyone,” Todd said. “I hit a growth spurt late middle school, early high school, so that’s one of the reasons I stayed as a guard, because I’d already established my position.” A sniper’s range also runs in the family, apparently. Her father, Glenn, played three years at the University of Southern Maine (1981-84), where he averaged 8.9 points per game and shot .528 from the field while appearing in 62 games. Her father’s impact extended beyond the box score as well. After his senior year, Glenn Todd was described in the year end reports as the “heart and soul of the team” with invaluable leadership on and off the court, whose “aggressive style of play became a personal trademark.” Sound familiar? “My dad‘s like an insane shooter,” Todd recounted with a laugh. “His game is kind of my game.
Brace is also a bigger guard who’s risen to prominence shooting threes, also coming in at fifth in made threes in program history, but Brace, a senior, recognizes the importance of locking down the opponent’s shooters. “It’s tough,” he said. “I mean, when you play against a guy who can really shoot it, it opens up a lot of other stuff. You just try to focus on not letting the guy get open and helping off when you need to.” As far as the future of the program goes, Brace is confident that the team’s long-range success will continue. “I think as long as Coach [Bill] Coen is coaching in his system there’s always going to be a lot of made threes,” he said, “and there’s always going to have to be guys that can shoot it.” Coen seems to agree. “That’s the way most offenses are devised,” the 15-year coach said, “That’s not to say the post up game and the inside game and the penetration game are not valuable, but I think you have to have a balance and you certainly have to be mindful of how you’re creating three point shots.” In an era where more and more points come from behind the arc, the Huskies are prepared and willing to go get them. Both teams have adapted well to the changing strategies of the game, and Cole said the three isn’t going away any time soon. “I think it’s a great addition to the game,” Cole said. “We’re looking forward to continuing to be good at it and bringing in the right people to take advantage.” If the last few seasons are any indication, they’re on the right track. THE RED & BLACK
The story within the ink
OMAR DA NAIA
BY BRIAN SHIM
erving as a bridge between body and art, tattoos often carry unspoken significance and a sense of pride. Through their uniqueness they express individuality, while their permanence reflects a dedication to the meanings behind them. Many of the athletes that we admire today, from the world stage to our own on Huntington Ave, showcase a diverse collection of tattoos that tell stories that we may never hear. Some athletes use the medium as a way to pay respect to those who have guided them along their journeys, as men’s soccer sophomore Omar Da Naia has chosen to do. Da Naia, whose father was diagnosed with cancer in 2019, tattooed his parents’ birthdates in Roman numerals on his left wrist in August of last year, and three months later surrounded them with ink bracelets that say ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ in Portuguese – a heartfelt reminder that he brings them with him everywhere he goes. “I wanted to honor my parents,” Da Naia said. “My dad was literally there at every single training, every single game. He didn’t miss one, even when he was diagnosed and wasn’t supposed to go outside. “My dad passed away before seeing [the bracelets], but I love my tattoos and they remind me of him.” Growing up, his parents’ dedication and support for him always matched his own passion for soccer, and Da Naia now believes that his tattoos are a way to carry that love and support with him to help improve as a collegiate athlete. “I kiss them every time I go into a game and say, ‘this is for my parents,” he said.
MEN’S SOCCER & BASKETBALL
PHOTO COURTESY OF JIM PIERCE/NORTHEASTERN ATHLETICS
Men’s basketball junior Myles Franklin uses his tattoos to wear his faith as armor. His initial piece of ink was the Bible passage Isaiah 41:10, surrounded by clouds and doves. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” The winged and shield-bearing guardian angel on Franklin’s outer forearm brings color to the sleeve, serving to remind him that he is always being watched over and protected. Similarly, the shadow of Jesus, which sits behind the lion’s head that wraps around his upper arm, represents the guidance of his faith behind his every action. With his tattoos, Franklin holds his faith close at all times, as it impacts him in life and in sport: “I pray before every game… religion is important to me and it’s something I’m always thinking about.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF MYLES FRANKLIN
PHOTO BY ZEKE LIBATIQUE
The diamond heart that sits on Franklin’s lower tricep also holds a special meaning. It serves as a reminder of the struggle he faced with abnormal electrical activity in his heart earlier in his athletic career.
“After one of our games in my junior year of high school, I noticed my heart was beating super strange and I had to go to the hospital,” Franklin recalled. It was then that Franklin underwent cardiac ablation surgery, which removed the faulty electrical pathways in his heart and prevented him from developing further complications such as atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardias, or other heartbeat irregularities. “If I hadn’t gotten it fixed, I don’t know if I could have kept playing basketball and gotten to where I am today.” On the idea of getting more tattoos, both Da Naia and Franklin share the same bright enthusiasm on being able to express themselves through the art. However, they also share similar concerns on getting more ink, as Da Naia explained: “We’ll see if my mom will allow it – that’s probably the biggest obstacle I’ve got.” THE RED & BLACK
110 YEARS OF HISTORY BY TYLER DOLPH PHOTOS COURTESY OF NORTHEASTERN ATHLETICS There are many ways to describe Matthews Arena. It’s old. Erected in 1910 as the Boston Arena, Matthews continues to stand in its original location. It has survived two devastating fires in 1918 and 1948, and has seen countless remodels, including the one in 1979 that gave it its name when alumnus George Matthews funded Northeastern’s renovations. It’s unique. Matthews is the oldest multi-purpose athletic building in the world. The Melbourne Cricket Ground, opened in 1853 in Australia, may take issue with this claim, but it’s unclear if that ground was built with the intention of hosting multiple sports. It’s important. Matthews has hosted a myriad of “firsts”. Both the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics played their inaugural games in the arena in 1924 and 1946 respectively. The arena has also seen the inception of almost all of the collegiate hockey programs in Boston: Harvard, Boston College, Boston University, MIT, Tufts, Wentworth and, of course, Northeastern. It’s versatile. Matthews is far from just a sporting venue. The space has hosted a integral national and international figures over the last century. Everyone from John F. Kennedy to Babe Ruth to Marvin Gay to Nancy Kerrigan to Bob Dylan to Amelia Earhardt have walked the hallowed halls of Matthews as performers, speech-givers, or entertainment seekers. It’s memorable. Matthews has hosted countless programs and functions for the Northeastern community since the university took over ownership of the building in 1979. From convocations, to graduations, to funerals, to homecomings, to Springfests, to hundreds, if not thousands, of intramural and club games the structure has been the home to a long list of crucial Husky events. But in the year of its 110th birthday, there’s only one word that aptly describes all that is Matthews Arena. It’s historic. Historic Matthews Arena. SPRING 2020
THE RED & BLACK
THE FRANKEL FILE The story behind one of the top goalies in women’s hockey BY BECCA GADDY
erin Frankel fell in love with hockey as a six-year-old when she played with the boys back in New York. As a kid, Frankel didn’t start out as a goaltender. However, her desire to be on the ice as much as possible drove her to try out the new position. “I was really young at the time and I wanted to be on the ice the entire time and not have to get off like everyone else who had shifts,” she explained. A two-time Hockey East tournament MVP, three-time Hockey East Champion, Patty Kazmaier Award finalist and member of the USA women’s hockey World Championship team, junior Aerin Frankel is one of the best goaltenders in women’s hockey. But her journey wasn’t simple or easy. Driven by a need to compete at a higher level, Frankel left her home in New York after her freshman year of high school to attend Shattuck St. Mary’s, a boarding school in Minnesota. Even though she was a member of one of the best high school hockey teams in the country, Frankel seemed to be underestimated because of her smaller stature, at five-footfive. For coaches, it was hard to see what she was capable of because of her team’s success – which took much of the spotlight off of her goaltending abilities. But her high school coach was persistent in getting her recruited, and looking at the accomplishments that Frankel has achieved during her SPRING 2020
PHOTO BY MEGAN BARRETT time at Northeastern, it’s safe to say her coach at Shattuck was right. “She has exceeded my expectations and I’m lucky I got her,” Northeastern head coach Dave Flint said. However, Frankel’s transition from Shattuck to Northeastern was not easy. In order to be successful at the collegiate level, Frankel needed a competitive edge, an intense work ethic, and a positive attitude. Frankel didn’t let her successful background in the sport have a negative effect on her ego, and instead approached this new challenge the only way she knew how. A quiet freshman waiting for her moment, splitting time with then-junior goaltender Brittany Bugalski, Frankel allowed her skill to do the talking. “She came in humble and everyone thought her initial role was to create a competitive environment and support the team. We quickly realized she could do a lot more,” Bugalski said. Her coaches and teammates soon found that when competition arose, Aerin Frankel thrived. She utilized her early opportunities to make a positive impression on the rest of the team and secure the starting position. Two years later, Frankel has gained the respect and trust of her team which has contributed to the program’s success. “It takes a lot of time to earn trust from your teammates,”
PHOTO BY BRIAN BAE Frankel said. “My teammates trust me out there because I’ve shown for three years that I can play at this level. I am very devoted to making this team as good as I can and I think my work ethic speaks to that and I think people respect me because I work hard. I want what’s best for the team.” While Frankel is able to impact her team through clutch plays on the ice, her character is what her teammates and coaches find the most admirable. It is that unwavering character that has helped her become the fierce competitor and teammate she is today. “If I had to describe Aerin in one word, it would be ‘backbone.’ Our team wouldn’t be nearly as successful if Aerin wasn’t our goalie. There’s a lot of games where we don’t show up at the beginning, but Aerin is always there to save us. I think Aerin is our most valuable player. She’s on the ice the entire game and she is always on,” senior defenseman Paige Capistran said. “She’s ultra-competitive, athletic, and driven. I don’t think she’s ever satisfied with where she’s at, those are all the qualities that make her as good as she is,” Flint said. Frankel’s hard work and unique style of play has not just been noticed by her team, however. As Frankel reaches new heights in her career, she has been recognized nationally by the larger women’s hockey community, as she was selected as a
2020 Patty Kazmeier finalist and selected to the USA women’s hockey World Championships roster. While Frankel’s humility may have clouded her expectations, the people who have watched her grow into the player she is today are not the least bit surprised. “I think it was just a matter of time before she got into that path with USA Hockey. I’m glad that people outside of Northeastern and the NCAA were able to recognize her for her talent and uniqueness. I can just see her continue to get better from here,” Bugalski said. As she climbs an upward trajectory, Frankel’s future is bright. With another year to play at Northeastern, there is no question that Frankel’s quiet confidence and incomparable style of play will carry her forward as she continues her successful hockey career. A diamond in the rough, exceeding expectations is what Aerin Frankel does best. Since the beginning of her career, she has silenced the skeptics who have challenged her skill and size as she has become a formidable player within the women’s hockey world. “On game days we get these posters with our pictures on them, I saved Aerin Frankel’s and I didn’t save everyone’s,” Capistran said. “I saved hers because I think she’s going to be famous one day.” THE RED & BLACK
LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER What it’s like to grow up with a Hockey Hall of Famer for a dad
s the only daughter of four children, my mom couldn’t wait to have a figure skater in a family of hockey players. But all I wanted to do was be like my dad and brothers and play hockey. So when I was eight years old, standing in line at the concession stand at my childhood ice rink holding my dad’s hand, I pointed to a hockey bag and said I wanted to do that. My dad was lacing up my brother’s old hockey skates on me the next day. People always ask what’s it like being Al MacInnis’s daughter. I really was too young to understand what a Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal and Hockey Hall of Fame induction meant. But what I do remember was greeting him at home after a game, and he would always have a new bandage, shoulder wrap, ice pack, limp, or something. And of course, I vividly remember him coming home with a bandage over his eye after he got hit by a high stick, which actually ended up being the injury that ended his career. But most of my memories of “being Al MacInnis’s daughter” came after his playing career ended. After retiring, he became a coach for the teams each of my brothers and I played for. And when he wasn’t coaching our teams, he was always coaching us and making us better. I remember the moment I learned how to take a slap shot. I still had my hot pink hockey stick and gloves and we were shooting pucks outside in the driveway. He kept telling me that once you learn how, it just clicks and it’s like riding a bike. Shoot down on the puck. Shoot through the net, not at the net. Follow
BY LAUREN MACINNIS PHOTOS COURTESY OF LAUREN MACINNIS through the shot. Fast forward a few years and I had achieved my dream of playing Division I hockey. I remember being so excited, nervous, and having so much adrenaline. It showed too, like on our first long road trip. We were warming up before our practice when I challenged the senior captain, Shelby Harrington, to a race. I fell face-first into the concrete, and my teammates, trainers and coaches were all laughing. Happy 19th birthday to me. My dad was with me throughout my process at Northeastern. One thing that he was always good at was knowing when to be a parent and when to be a coach. My first few years at Northeastern, I didn’t play as much as I wanted to. I only had a couple shifts my freshman and sophomore year combined. Soon, those positive emotions gave way to hopelessness and disappointment. My freshman year was tough, but many players don’t play that first year. I decided that the next year would be different. My dad helped me with summer training and went over game shifts with me. I got extra ice time by waking up early before class and staying late after practice. All this, only to see the same results. I still had hope that at the end of the year, I would be in uniform when we won Hockey East. But I wasn’t. It seemed that no matter how hard I worked, no matter how many hours I put in, I was never going to get a chance. By junior year, I had lost my love for the game. One night on the phone my dad asked how I was handling not playing. I had to be honest with him and tell him it was
PHOTO COURTESY OF JIM PIERCE NORTHEASTERN ATHLETICS
tough and that every game was adding a bigger burden on my shoulders. I felt discouraged with the entire college hockey experience. I was even considering transferring. I didn’t expect him to understand, because how could he? I didn’t get the response I was expecting. I got a story from when he first moved out of his hometown to play junior hockey when he was 16. He told me that he was a healthy scratch for a significant portion of the season. I was so shocked I didn’t believe him. Of all the stories I’ve heard about my dad, this one had never come up. He kept telling me to hang in there, keep working hard, and when you get the chance make the best of it. And after going over all the pros and cons, I decided to stay and to take his advice: to practice, have fun, and get the love of the game back. My love for hockey did begin to come back, and I even started playing better. One day, I went into the locker room, and started to get ready for practice. My teammate Brooke [Hobson, senior defenseman] came up to me and said “Hey D partner.” I looked at the board to see my number in the line up with confusion. I looked around the locker room to see if any of the defenders were injured, but everyone was healthy. I had told myself to not look at the lineup anymore because it didn’t matter, until today. By the time puck drop came around, my nerves were through the roof. I took deep breaths and kept my thoughts positive, but my heart wouldn’t stop pounding. I leaned over to Brooke and told her I was nervous. “Don’t be nervous,” she said with a smile. I was still nervous. By the end of my third shift I got to the bench and said
“okay, the nerves are gone.” The next shift I scored my very first goal. I’m not sure who was more excited, me or my teammates. I would do it again too, to end my first game with two goals, an assist, and most importantly as a defenseman, a shutout. I kept my mindset that I was playing because I loved the game, and from then on my career seemed to take off. Then came the Beanpot. We hadn’t won a Beanpot in seven years, and it was something we had talked about all year. So here I am, not expecting many shifts and thinking that that was okay, because being on the bench was a big step up from when I was sitting in the stands. Unexpectedly though, I was put into a role I had never been in before. I was playing more shifts than I ever had, and I was put on a power play unit that I had never practiced with. My first shift in this new role, BU scored. I was devastated, but I knew the game wasn’t over… not even close. The game went into double overtime and I was exhausted and running only on adrenaline. After the longest game of my life, it was all over within a single second, because I shot the puck in the right spot. I scored the game winning goal in double overtime of the Beanpot championship. Me, a healthy scratch for two and a half years. I felt everything at once. Shock, disbelief, happy, excited, relieved. My dad tells me how crazy it is how my season turned around for me, but that he always knew that it would happen. People always ask what’s it like being Al MacInnis’s daughter and if I have a slap shot like him. My response is always the same, that he taught me everything I know... And that I have the harder slap shot. To everyone else my dad may be a hockey legend with a hard shot, but to me, he is just Dad. THE RED & BLACK
HARD WORK SET A
The unheralded backbone behind the winningest team in women’s hockey BY HUY NGUYEN PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN GOMEZ
he winningest season in program history, a doubleovertime victory against the reigning champions of Boston to snag the Beanpot, and an inch away from achieving the program’s first NCAA win; the 2019-20 Northeastern women’s ice hockey season was one that will push the program forward for years to come. The centerpiece of the success was the team’s captain, Paige Capistran. Originating from Manchester, N.H., she started playing hockey after wanting to follow in the footsteps of her older brother, Luke. “I started hockey because my older brother Luke played, so he’s definitely why it all started,” Capistran explained. “I said how I wanted to play hockey like Luke. He was a defenseman. I wanted to play D. I remember he had a weird red helmet. I wanted the same weird red helmet. I idolized him.” The siblings bonded over hockey, and despite their three-year age gap, they shared a friendly sibling rivalry that strengthened their relationship until Luke passed away in 2011 at the age of 16. His memory fueled her passion for the game, and inspired her to continue pursuing hockey.
“Hockey kept me close with him even when he was gone,” Capistran said. While she played three different sports in high school – hockey, softball, and cross-country – there was never a doubt in her mind that she wanted to focus on ice hockey and compete collegiately. Throughout her hockey career in high school and college, she’s had countless influences who kept her spirit going; though none greater than her all-time number one fan: her mom, who supported her hockey dreams from the very beginning. “My mom has been here through it all, she did not miss one game when I played at Northeastern,” she added. “She was in Ireland, she drove everywhere, flew anywhere. So having a mom that supports me, that was huge. I always made sure I know where my mom is before a game.” In addition to her mom, she’s thankful for her past coaches, especially assistant coach Lindsay Berman, a Northeastern hockey alumna who’s return in August 2018 has coincided with two incredibly successful seasons. Berman felt equally as grateful to work with a player whose outstanding character and hard work set a high bar for younger players. “She is the most dedicated teammate out there,” Berman said. “She is selfless, passionate, authentic, unbelievably hard-working, and a great leader. She’s the consummate team player. Our team doesn’t have this success without such a leader. She lives, eats, sleeps, breathes, walks, talks, dreams Northeastern.” To Capistran, the hockey team was like family, and her closest friends and her favorite memories come from spending time with the team. Her constant enthusiasm for helping the younger players kept her team closer together, on and off the ice. “We had a large freshman class this year,” senior forward Matti Hartman said. “So right from the start, she made an effort to reach out to them and be there for them if they had any questions. And she was big on team bonding. She would be a big organizer in our team dinners. I think she just put a big emphasis on the culture of the team, which ultimately translated onto the ice with our chemistry.” Her four years of playing collegiate hockey culminated in the team’s most successful season ever: a record-breaking and NCAA leading 32 wins for the program, and Capistran’s rushing emotions during this year’s double-overtime Beanpot win stands as one of her favorite and most unforgettable ice hockey memories of all time, though with 145 appearances (sixth-most in program history), she had plenty to choose from. Even with the Beanpot, Capistran had an even furtherreaching target for her hockey career: to enter the NCAA tournament, which would be held at nearby Agganis Arena,
and make program history. “Every time we would pass this arena, [Capistran] would always shout ‘That’s the goal, ladies!’ And everyone would start cheering because we all knew exactly what she was talking about,” freshman defender Megan Carter said. “It wasn’t just something that came as that goal approached; it was from day one. She always knew that this team was so capable of achieving a goal like that, and it just helped us build confidence.” Capistran enjoyed carrying the responsibility of being a captain and was proud to lead her team towards success. Following the season, her excellence in leadership earned her the Hockey East Sportsmanship Award and The Red & Black Dedication Award at Northeastern’s Howlin’ Huskies Awards, the first in the program to be awarded either. “Being the captain really was the best honor I’ve ever had,” Capistran said. “I loved being their captain. They gave me so much confidence, so much respect. I really just wanted to be the best captain for my teammates, and they made it very easy for me.” While her season getting cut short by COVID-19 may be a bittersweet end for her collegiate hockey career, her memories of ice hockey will stay with her for the rest of her life: the camaraderie between teammates, the guidance from her coaches, and the never ending support from her fans, friends, and family. Berman believes that without the cancellation of the remainder of the season, Capistran would have taken the team all the way to the NCAA finals. “No one deserved the storybook ending of a National Championship more than Paige,” Berman said. “I know she would’ve taken her team there.” She initially believed that Northeastern would be the end of her long-lasting hockey career, with the possibility of being more involved in hockey, such as coaching, in the future. However, Capistran was drafted in the fifth round by the Boston Pride during the 2020 National Women’s Hockey League Draft on April 29, 2020. “I wanted to continue my career and have the opportunity to keep playing because I didn’t want to be done,” she reflected. “When I found out the Pride were interested, I thought about it for a while because it was a lot; but I’m excited that I’ll have the opportunity to continue playing.” Luckily for the city of Boston, she will continue to represent the city as she’s done for the past four years at Northeastern. “Northeastern made Boston my home,” she said. “I absolutely love this city, so being able to represent Boston, it’s a very big honor.” Though her time as a Husky may have come to an end, her love for hockey keeps her hungry for more; and though we may no longer see her representing the red and black, the Pride’s black, white, and gold will be shining just as bright in the years to come. THE RED & BLACK
‘WE KNEW IT WAS IN OUR HANDS’ An Oral History of the 2020 Women’s Beanpot Final BY MICHAEL RUBERTO PHOTO BY BRIAN BAE
marked the first time in seven years that the Northeastern women’s hockey team emerged from the Beanpot hoisting the trophy. Going into the tournament with a dominant 23-3-1 record, the Huskies bested the Harvard Crimson 3-1 in the first round before going on to the Boston University Terriers in the finals a week later. These two rivals had already faced off three times in the 2019-2020 season leading up to this showdown, with the Huskies coming out on top each time. Following their big win, freshman forward Jess Schryver, sophomore forward Chloe Aurard, junior goaltender Aerin Frankel, and junior defender Lauren MacInnis reflect on the soaring successes and tense battles which led to their gripping double overtime victory over the Terriers. Coming off of a strong first round, the Huskies had a quiet confidence heading into the locker room before the championship game. Lauren MacInnis: “The last few years hadn’t gone so well for us in the Beanpot and we were ready to make our mark.
We did have nerves, but we have so much confidence in each other that it wasn’t the type of nerves that made us too antsy.” Chloe Aurard: “We were pretty ready after beating Harvard the week before and just being in the championship. I think the captain, [senior defenseman] Paige Capistran, made sure everyone knew it was a big deal, especially for the three seniors on the team.” Aerin Frankel: “We were liking the way we were playing, and we knew that if we continued to play our best hockey and had trust in each other, we’d be able to beat BU in the final.” After 4:55 of play, Boston University managed to get out to an early lead, scoring a short-handed goal while the Huskies were on a power play. Frankel: “It was definitely deflating at first. We had been struggling with our power play all year and we knew that that was something we needed to be good to win the big games. But I think our team is always good about responding when we get scored on.” Jess Schryver: “Usually throughout the season when the
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81:03 other team scores first we might feel a little down about it, but honestly when they scored there we right away picked things up and started skating faster. That was a turning point in the game.” MacInnis: “We’ve been in that situation before where we get down by one and come back. So I don’t think that first goal meant anything to us. We just kept going.” The Huskies played hard for the rest of the period, and with 2:28 left on the clock, Aurard scored to tie the game at one going into the first intermission. Aurard: “[freshman defender] Megan Carter stepped up and got a turnover and chipped it against the board. I saw it so I took the puck, chipped it, and skated it towards the net. I think it was Jess with me. It was a quick 2v1, and I thought about passing it first, but then I saw the stick of the defender so I just decided to shoot and it went in.” Frankel: “I think it was a big relief. Any time you go down two to nothing in a big game, it’s hard to come back from that. We knew that we needed the next goal, and Chloe did it for us.”
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The teams took the ice again for the second period, and after 6:33, Aurard scored her second goal of the game to give Northeastern the lead. Schryver: “Someone tried on the net, I kinda tipped it out and then Chloe one-timed it in.” Aurard: “Jess did an amazing job in a corner battle against two BU players. Somehow she managed to put the puck in front of the net. I was there because I knew she’d work hard and get the puck to the net. She worked and I just finished it.” MacInnis: “We all knew we were going to win after that goal – or at least I did. The feeling to get a bit of a head start that period was amazing, and we weren’t going to stop battling. We were ready for this.” Frankel: “That just speaks to trusting the process. If you do everything right the goals will come. Maybe not right away, but if you play how the coaches tell you to, with the amount of talent we have, we learned that if you just stick to the system the goals are just going to come.” Near the halfway point of the second period, junior THE RED & BLACK
PHOTOS BY BRIAN BAE defenseman Skylar Fontaine was assessed a game misconduct and was ejected. Northeastern allowed one goal on the ensuing five minute penalty, causing the game to be tied at two. Frankel: “Obviously killing off a penalty is a huge deal, let alone a five minute one. There weren’t nerves so much as a little bit of panic. We saw this team can skate with us and they kept responding. We knew we could do it, it was just going to take a strong third period.” MacInnis: “Whenever something like that happens, especially in a game this big, it can rattle up the team energy. I didn’t play very much before Skylar got ejected, so I needed to step into that position, but my teammates and coaches believed in me. That’s what got me through the game, even when I was mentally and physically exhausted.” The two rival teams continued to battle for the rest of the period. The Huskies came out strong again in the third, ultimately leading to Schryver scoring with 5:19 left in the game. The Huskies are up 3-2 in the dying minutes of the game. Schryver: “It was a power play and I was just parked in front of the net. The puck was bouncing away from the net and I saw [sophomore forward] Alina [Mueller] get it on her stick. Whenever Alina gets the puck she makes amazing plays, so I figured I’d put my stick on the ice and see if she’d touch the puck in off of it, and that’s exactly what she did. I lifted up a girl’s stick and then tipped it in.” Aurard: “I think we really got excited when she scored because five minutes in a hockey game is really short. But we had to get back and focus on the game because five minutes can also be long...” Despite Schryver’s heroics, Northeastern’s lead wouldn’t hold. With 22.8 seconds left and their own net empty, Boston University managed to sneak a goal past the Huskies. For the fourth time in this game, the score was tied. Frankel: “It was a really chaotic scrum in front of the net. I SPRING 2020
know my players were trying to clear the puck but BU was just swarming us. It was a really tough play, but our mentality was that we’d be able to respond to whatever.” Schryver: “It was disheartening because it was the last 30 seconds and the game was so tense, but it didn’t even get our hopes down. We knew it was in our hands and we were going to win the game.” Aurard: “I don’t think we were worried but we were obviously a little upset. We worked hard the whole game and then we just took a goal 23 seconds before the end.” It would take two overtime periods for a champion to be crowned, but finally, on a power play 16:03 into 2OT, MacInnis rifled home the game-winning goal, cementing the Northeastern Huskies as the winners of the 2020 Women’s Beanpot. MacInnis: “This was only my second power play, maybe third of the game, and third ever in my college career. The thought going in was, ‘My job is not to score goals, it’s to keep the puck out of my net.’ So in my mind, I’m thinking, ‘We only have one player back, I need to be there just in case.’ So I’m actually recovering in the slot area and the puck happens to pop out where I am, and lucky enough I shot it and it went in the net. The initial reaction was insane. I just couldn’t believe that I scored the game-winning goal.” Schryver: “Everyone was so hyped, we jumped into the air and threw our gloves and our sticks. We all ran to Lauren and back to Aerin in net. Everyone in the locker room was celebrating, screaming, playing music, it was a great feeling.” Frankel: “Lauren was playing in a completely different role, which was amazing by her. It was amazing just doing something we haven’t done before. The Northeastern program hadn’t won a Beanpot in a while. It was something bigger than just our team.”
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‘IT’S DO OR DIE NOW’ An Oral History of the 2020 Men’s Beanpot Final BY MICHAEL RUBERTO PHOTO BY SARAH OLENDER
n February 10th, 2020, the Northeastern men’s hockey team, on the heels of a decisive 3-1 win against the Harvard Crimson a week before, defeated the rival Boston University Terriers in a harrowing double overtime showdown to become the Beanpot champions. Though it was the program’s 7th time hoisting the trophy since their first win in 1980, this victory represented something more – it was the third time the Huskies won the title in as many years. Looking back on the game which made them three-peat champions, freshman forward Aidan McDonough, sophomore defenseman Jordan Harris, junior forward Zach Solow, senior defenseman and captain Ryan Shea, and senior goaltender Craig Pantano share some of their memories and perspectives from their battle at TD Garden.
Going into the game, the message in the locker room was clear. Every Husky, veteran or rookie, was ready to play hard against one of their biggest rivals and complete the three-peat. Ryan Shea: “We had that confidence and a kind of swagger. We know how to play in the Garden and we definitely know how to play in the championship. Everyone was confident even though we had a lot of younger guys and two transfers.” Jordan Harris: “Playing at the Garden is really special for us. It definitely gave us energy. I don’t want to say there was more pressure, but there was definitely an expectation for us.” Aidan McDonough: “A lot of our upperclassmen had been in the Beanpot situation which was good for us. We played BU earlier in the season and we didn’t have our best performance, but we knew that if we just played to our identity, we could beat them.” Northeastern was quickly faced with adversity. In the first eight minutes of the opening period, Boston University managed to score two quick goals. Craig Pantano: “We just tried to flush it and get back to what we do best. When you go down by two in the first period it can be a little bit tough, but we had 40 minutes left in the game.” Zach Solow: “It was a little deflating at first, but BU took it to us the first ten minutes of the game, and we knew they couldn’t sustain it. After the goals we just regrouped and we played a lot tighter defense for the rest of the period.” Harris: “It was definitely not what we were expecting to happen, but there was definitely a sense of, ‘That’s the worst that can happen. There’s no looking back now.’” Back in the locker room, it fell to the coaches, and especially the captains, to rally the troops before stepping onto the ice for the second period.
PHOTO BY SARAH OLENDER
Solow: “We were looking around and we were mostly silent. Then [Shea] came in and, in simple terms, said, ‘Fuck that, that’s not us.’ The message was experience. You can’t teach experience, and we had a lot more than the guys in the other locker room. We got everyone on the same page going into the second period.” Shea: “We really just needed to get a fresh start after the first period, and once we did, you saw what happened in the second. That’s where we just took control of the game.” The Huskies began to dominate the Terriers as soon as the puck dropped in the second period. In the first three minutes, Sophomore forward Tyler Madden scored on an assist from McDonough, before McDonough scored his own goal from Shea to tie the game at two after six minutes. Aidan McDonough: “[Madden’s goal] was a set play that didn’t work the way we wanted it to. I just ended up being open and [sophomore defenseman] Julian Kislin hit me with a pass below the goal line. I found Madden in the slot, and when he gets the puck in that area, there’s not many times when he’s gonna miss.” Harris: “Once it was 2-1 you could feel everyone’s loads lift. We knew we could come back, but just getting that first one put everyone at ease.” Shea: “Donzo [McDonough] gave me the pass mid-point. The forward on their team went down so I had an easy lane to walk around him. Donzo just kept moving and got himself available. He put himself in a spot, and a kid with a shot like that, not many goalies are going to save it.” McDonough: “I fired and missed the net, and it wrapped around to Julian Kislin. I just followed my shot into the corner. I got it at the midpoint, hit Ryan Shea, and skated around the zone a few times. He dished it to me in the slot and I just tried to get it off my stick as soon as possible.”
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Northeastern didn’t let off the gas after tying the game. A 5-on-3 power play goal from Solow (assisted by McDonough and Shea), as well as another tally by senior forward Grant Jozefek, put the Huskies up 4-2 with eight minutes left in the period, forcing BU to change their goalie. Shea: “I was looking for Donzo for the one-timer, but I actually gave him a pass a little too behind him, but Coach Keefe always has those extra plays, so if one play doesn’t work out there’s always the second or third play that works.” Solow: “McDonough wasn’t supposed to give it to me. I guess he felt pressured. In practice it was a similar situation and so I was already comfortable with that. Even though it happened in a split second, I was like ‘I’ve been here a thousand times before and I know exactly what to do.’” After a strong second period, Boston University managed to score two minutes into the third period to bring the game within one goal. Pantano: “We were still feeling confident. It was a tough bounce, it hit off a few things on the way in. I think everyone just took it as it was and played on.” Harris: “Obviously going from a two goal lead to a one goal lead makes you more nervous and a little more tense but we were still confident in the way we were playing and we didn’t want to let it turn the momentum from the second.” Northeastern played strongly for the rest of the third period, but with 1.2 seconds left in regulation, tragedy struck. With their own net empty, the Terriers managed to sneak in a final tying goal, sending the game to overtime. Pantano: “Once the puck came down I knew they were going to try and get it on net. It went off to my left side. There was a little bit of traffic in the crease so I couldn’t fully push over there.” Harris: “With the emotion from them scoring two and going down quickly to this, this was the most roller coaster game I’ve ever played in. The whole building was silent. I looked over at the coaches and they just didn’t know what to do.” McDonough: “To be honest with you it was devastating. We were so close to just ending it right there. It was definitely just shock for a little bit. But we still had to win this game. We made it too far to not win it.” Solow: “I don’t think anyone moved. You don’t know how to react, you just went numb. You just kind of stared, tried to figure out what’s going on. We just knew from a team perspective we needed to survive the five minutes of push from BU and get in the locker room and regroup.” Shea: “That was tough. It stunk, to be honest. We kind of thought that all our hard work that game went out the window right there. But every Beanpot I’ve been in, I’m pretty sure there’s been an overtime game, so I guess it was meant to be.” Pantano: “There’s nothing really to think about at that point. You just get ready to play the overtime. You know it’s do or die now.” SPRING 2020
PHOTOS BY BRIAN BAE
Northeastern survived the overtime period, heading back to the locker room. After regrouping for the second overtime period, with 5:27 left Solow and McDonough managed to set up Jordan Harris for a power play goal. The Northeastern Huskies were Beanpot champions for the third year running. McDonough: “It was a simple play, [Harris] was wide open. He made a really good shot and it happened to find its way in. It was one of the best moments of my life after that.” Harris: “I just walked and tried to find a lane and shoot. Honestly afterwards I just felt relieved the game was over. Then there was a lot of excitement. There was a lot of relief and a lot of joy.” Pantano: “I couldn’t even see it from my end, so I just thought, ‘Did he just score?’ But then he started racing down
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to me and I was so excited. I was happy for him to get it though. He’s such a good player and he works so hard. That’s a memory I’ll never forget.” Solow: “It was basically like, ‘We just did this. We’re the greatest team in Northeastern history. Look at all these DogHouse fans, we have the best fans in college hockey.’ With all the years of BU and BC saying, ‘F- you,’ we got another chance to say it back.” Shea: “Just getting that win and knowing we could call each other three-peat Beanpot champions, it was really special. No matter how many times you win it it never gets old. It’s like the Tom Brady mentality. The best ring is the next one. I’m sure they’ll want to get it even more for the fourth time and celebrate it even harder.”
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NOT A SOLO JOURNEY BY ADAM DOUCETTE PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN GOMEZ
ach Solow takes risks. He works hard. He’s not here by accident. But, in August of 2014, he wasn’t exactly sure where he was going. Originally from the west coast of Florida, Solow found himself in the middle of Janesville, Wisconsin. “I plugged in the address, but the address doesn’t tell you if you’re going to a farm or not. And I remember looking at my phone saying we’re going to be there in two minutes and looking around and not seeing a single building,” he said. To say that Solow was not prepared for rural Wisconsin would be an understatement. “We pulled up to a 500-cow dairy farm,” Solow remembers. “I was wearing peach shorts and a salmon shirt like I was going to the beach, and pulled up to a dairy farm.”
The chippy 5’ 9” forward, now senior captain of Northeastern’s men’s hockey team, has become a fan favorite over his first three years in Boston, endearing himself with those who frequent the DogHouse with his fiery passion and unrelenting energy. But his journey to Matthews Arena started long before he helped bring the Beanpot back to Huntington Avenue – again, and again, and again. Solow grew up in Naples, Florida as one of four children who all played sports. He has two older sisters – Lindy and Kristen, and one older brother, Max. Lindy was a high school volleyball player, Kristen raced horses through college, and Max played Division I college baseball. His father Ken played college baseball as well, at Arizona State. Solow will never forget how weekends were for his family when he was little. They would jump into their 2004 Ford Expedition and drive
his brother to the baseball field with Kristen’s horses in tow. Then, a three to four hour drive to drop off Kristen and their mother, Nicole, to race the horses. Zach and his father would drive back down so his father could play in his competitive adult league softball game, finish that, pick up his brother, and drive back up to watch his sister race. A full weekend no doubt. When the family wasn’t racing around to the kids’ sporting events, they were taking them to see the Florida Everblades, a local professional hockey team. “The other three kids would be causing chaos, they wouldn’t pay attention,” he said. “I was the only kid that would sit there and not move and just watch the game.” As Solow grew up and continued going to hockey games with his parents, it became clear that hockey was it for him. He loved watching it, playing it, and most importantly he was good at it. By the time he reached seventh grade, his team was good too. Despite being relatively unknown, his Florida AAA team ended up defeating the St. Louis Blues, the top-ranked team in the country, in the semifinals of a national tournament. Solow had two goals.
Although his team ended up losing in the championship game, many of the players were hungry for more. After the season was over, seven or eight of the families from the team moved, a lot of them to Michigan or Canada, so their kids could pursue hockey further. However, with three other kids, the Solow family wasn’t exactly in the position to drop everything and move 1,500 miles north. Decision time. Jeff Brown, the coach for the Blues, whom Solow’s team had just defeated, reached out. He wanted Solow to come to St. Louis. At first, his mom didn’t approve of him leaving home. The crazy weekends of driving, competing, and cheering would be over. “My dad came into my room and we had a one on one basically just like, is this really what you want to do?” Solow recalled. It was, and through talking with other hockey families, especially those who had kids playing in St. Louis, the Solows found a family for their son to live with. Jim and Kathy Osbourne lived in the Hazelwood area of Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. They had three kids of their own, one of whom used to play for the Blues himself. They became his first billet family, a term used to describe families who provide a home for kids moving around to play elite hockey. “She raised me like her own and she was hard on me,” Solow said about Kathy. “She didn’t let me get away with anything and it taught me to basically be a grown-up in eighth grade. She’s a huge part of my success.” After two years of playing in St. Louis, Solow was ready to make the jump to Janesville, Wisconsin to play for the Janesville Jets of the North American Hockey League. His grandmother flew to St. Louis, rented a car and drove him five hours north. For a few months, Solow and another hockey player lived with the Funks on that dairy farm, but soon, the other player’s allergies forced him to move. He was Solow’s ride to practice, so they both had to go. THE RED & BLACK
They ended up living with Diane Rundy, a teacher at Janesville High School and a longtime billet, who had a player moving out at the same time Solow needed somewhere to stay. He played his whole rookie year of juniors with the Jets and came back for the first 20 games of his second year. It was Christmastime when he got a call from the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL wanting him to come to Dubuque, Iowa to fill one of the spots left by players who left to play in the USA hockey Tournament over Christmas break. He took them up on the offer. “When I got there and played, I felt really comfortable and played really well. I scored a couple times, and it kind of stuck,” he said of playing for Dubuque. Thinking he was returning to Janesville to continue his season, he thanked the coach for his time with Dubuque. “How would you feel if I told you that I traded for you?,” asked the coach. “Well, that would be cool, but I don’t know if it’s the best thing for me,” Solow replied. “Too late, I already did it,” was the answer. It was a two hour drive back to Janesville to pick up his belongings before driving back to Dubuque and moving in with yet another new family. He lived with Jen and Eric Mond for the second half of the USHL season, and moved in with Chris and Joanne Datisman for the next one. The Datismans had never billeted before, but were longtime fans of the Fighting Saints and decided to give it a go. He lived there for the rest of his time playing for Dubuque and stayed close with them after graduating high school and moving to Boston. “He would, to me, be described as one of one of my own kids, because that’s what I felt like when he left here,” Joanne said. Even having played well the second half of his junior year season with the Dubuque Fighting Saints, Solow SPRING 2020
PHOTO BY SARAH OLENDER still didn’t expect college offers; he had flown under the radar for much of his career. But, his performance with Dubuque in the USHL got the attention of three schools: UMass Amherst, Ohio State, and Northeastern. “Northeastern was the first school I visited and as soon as I saw the everyday life that I would have… I canceled my visit to Ohio State,” he said. “I couldn’t picture myself anywhere else, so I didn’t even give the other schools a chance. I’m so happy I made that decision.” As soon as he laced up his skates for the Huskies, Solow made an impact on the ice. He had three goals and three assists in just his first two games in a Husky uniform. It’s not common that a true freshman makes such an immediate impact. “Confidence was never a problem just because of that opening weekend,” Solow said. “That’s what a lot of incoming freshmen have to battle for is finding that confidence, and I was just really lucky and kind of pushed that out
the door right away.” Since those first two games, Solow has only grown as a player. Simply being around other great players has helped him continue to improve. Whether it’s Adam Gaudette, Cayden Primeau, Dylan Sikura, or a slew of other accomplished players, Solow has been a willing sponge. “The one thing I’ve learned from all of them is just work ethic,” he said. “The reason they’re that good is because they’re coming to the rink every day, and they’re separating themselves by not only their skill, but their work.” The work he has been putting in himself is paying off. In three years at Northeastern, he has three beanpot championships, the longest streak the school has ever had. The Huskies also won the Hockey East Championship in 2019, but did not have the opportunity to defend it in 2020 because of the virus shortened season. “Hockey’s important to him,” said Jim Madigan, head coach of the men’s hockey team. “He wants to do well, and
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he wants our team to do well. So, he does everything within his own abilities to be the best he can be for himself and for our team.” There is no questioning Solow’s passion for hockey, and it takes up much of his time. But he’s more than just a hockey player. “He’s not just here for hockey,” said Madigan. “He’s part of the whole institution… He’s proud to be a Northeastern Husky.” Because of Solow’s pride and love for Northeastern, Madigan doesn’t confine him to being an on the ice player. “I’ve used him in development roles where he’s spoken to our alums and because of his energetic, vibrant, outgoing personality, he’s tremendous in those situations,” Madigan said. “He’s got passion for Northeastern University, overriding passion for the institution, so he’s always someone who’s going to be connected to Northeastern.” Aside from hockey, Solow also has a growing love of theater and improv. He took a theater class freshman year and has since taken more. “It’s just something I really enjoy
PHOTO BY BRIAN BAE
doing,” he said. “It brings your personality out.” Another hobby of his? “I’m big into yoga,” he said. “In the summertime, once we can get back to everything normal, I’ll probably go three times a week.”
“IF SOMEONE COULD HAVE DRAWN IT UP, I DON’T THINK THEY COULD HAVE DONE IT ANY BETTER THAN WHAT IT’S BEEN.” Solow finds it helpful for his hockey game as well. “Hockey is an art and so is yoga,” he said. “So, if you can master the breathing and master the craft of your body, it will translate on your less than half an inch blade.” Whether it is playing hockey in front of the Husky fans, going to improv events, or speaking with alumni, Solow has made an impact in his first three years at Northeastern. “If someone could have drawn it
up, I don’t think they could have done it any better than what it’s been. Three Beanpots, a Hockey East championship… and the exposure just playing in the Garden. I’ll never forget my times in the Garden. Just when you score a goal, the feeling, it’s incredible.” Some might get wrapped up in the moment when they have a college athletic career that’s been as successful as Solow’s. But if one thing is for certain, it’s that he has not forgotten where he came from or the people he met along the way. “All the credit, and a major part of my success has come from the families that I’ve lived with along the way, and that gets overlooked in hockey,” Solow said. “These families make tons of sacrifices and I’ve lived with six families. They sometimes get under appreciated... The credit goes to everyone involved, not just the player.” All of the families he’s met on his journey to get here have made an impact on him, but since seventh grade he has never been able to stay in one place too long. It seems safe to say that he has found somewhere he can always call home in Northeastern.
THE RED & BLACK
IN THE DOGHOUSE What Does the Best Student Section in New England Sound Like? BY MATT LEVIN PHOTOS BY BRIAN BAE
ver the past few years, Northeastern hockey has experienced some of its most successful seasons ever. The men’s team has won back-to-back-to-back Beanpot tournaments and earned two Hockey East Championships in the last five years. The women have been even better, winning
Senior forward Matt Filipe emphasized the DogHouse’s impact on the ice. “Anytime we line up on the goal line, you look up and see the DogHouse, it gives you an extra boost,” said Filipe. “They are rowdy in the beginning and really let the opposing team
“THE LOUDER THEY ARE, THE MORE MOTIVATED YOU ARE.” their first Beanpot in seven years this past season along with their third consecutive Hockey East Championship. Before they could begin their run at a national title, their special season was stifled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Northeastern hockey’s success could not have been possible without The DogHouse, who earned major recognition by the NCAA when they were named one of the top student sections in college hockey. The DogHouse is composed of Northeastern’s die hard student hockey fans who sit in the upper level of Matthews Arena. In its rankings, the NCAA described the DogHouse as “rambunctious” and stated that opposing goalies should be scared to play in Matthews Arena as they have to “spend two periods dealing with the Huskies in front of the net and the DogHouse above and behind it.” “I was excited [after seeing the rankings], but not too surprised after seeing the large crowd at the Beanpot,” said Joe Callaghan, a fourth year student at Northeastern and a leading member of the DogHouse. “It’s a nice accomplishment to see that there is some school spirit. It shows what the fans and athletics have done to help promote both the men’s and women’s teams over the past couple years.” The continuous support doesn’t go unnoticed. Men’s head coach Jim Madigan, had a lot of praise for the DogHouse. “They create an atmosphere and environment in Matthews Arena that spurs on the rest of our students and fans,” Madigan said. “If the game isn’t going the right way, they pick us up and we feed off of that support. If things are going well, they are there cheering and putting pressure on the opposing team and goaltender. It plays a significant role in our success.”
hear it. It’s an added boost for the guys. During the game, they stay really loud and supportive. The louder they are the more motivated you are.” While impressive at Matthews Arena, the DogHouse really shines during the Beanpot. Freed from the capacity restrictions at Matthews, they fill up nearly 12 whole sections in TD Garden – a fact Madigan calls “inspiring.” The other schools will take up 2-3 at most, giving the DogHouse a massive advantage when fans from both teams chant back and forth at each other. Even the pep bands from both schools get into a friendly competition. “We love going back and forth with each other,” said Allison Betsold director of the Northeastern pep band. “It’s not competitive. We are not trying
to ‘win band,’ but we play songs in our book that we want to show off and that the fans love.” When the players see the huge DogHouse crowd during the Beanpot, they are in awe. “You look up and see the support from the students and the lack of support from other schools; it tells us this is our tournament to win,” said Filipe. Of course, the signature DogHouse move is the playing of the classic 2003 pop hit, “Stacy’s Mom.” The DogHouse’s anthem, the Pep Band plays “Stacy’s Mom” every game and everyone in the DogHouse sings along. “It’s a fun song to sing along to,” Callaghan said. “It gets everyone excited and when you hear it, you just want to sing along to it.” Both Madigan and Filipe agreed that Stacy’s Mom is their favorite song played by the pep band during the games. In fact, “Stacy’s Mom” even helped recruit Filipe to play at Northeastern. “I love ‘Stacy’s Mom,’” Filipe said. “Everytime hearing that,
going through the recruiting process, I thought it was pretty cool. It gives us extra motivation late in the game.” Betsold knows the DogHouse – and the team – loves hearing “Stacy’s Mom” and she makes sure to always give them what they want. “The Doghouse always chants for ‘Stacy’s Mom’ too early as a joke,” Betsold said. “We play it during our designated time in the third period and take a lot of pride in the song. I don’t know why, but it brings a lot of husky pride, especially during Beanpot. We played it three times during the Beanpot to give the fans what they want.” Being ranked in the top nine of all college hockey fan sections is a great accolade for the DogHouse. However, they are still seeking to be even louder and more rambunctious at future Northeastern hockey games. Callaghan said that next year, he and his fellow members of the DogHouse will continue to “be as loud as we can and try to get as many people as possible to every home game and hopefully some away games as well.”
THE RED & BLACK
THE BEST SOUS CHEFS IN THE WORLD The Ins and Outs of Northeastern’s Equipment Managers
BY CHRISTIAN GOMEZ PHOTOS BY CHRISTIAN GOMEZ ERIC ANASTASI
t’s 6 am and Rick Schroeder is arriving at Northeastern’s boathouse. Today’s to-do list: put out fires. At least, that’s what he calls the essential tasks that need to happen around the crew boathouse. These “fires,” anything from repairing launches to fixing engine motors, are just some of the responsibilities he has been taking care of as Northeastern’s boatman for the past 23 years. For Rick, who was captain of Northeastern’s 1989 crew team, becoming the boatman was the natural progression after his four-year career as a studentathlete rower. “It’s been my life,” he explained, “It’s who I am. I’m a boatman.” Over the years, it’s been Schroeder’s job to respond to any and all of the crew teams’ needs. He spends his time fixing broken bows, painting blades, cleaning up the boathouse, and driving the crew teams’ boats across the country. At the end of the day, it’s his responsibility to make sure the athletes don’t need to worry about anything other than performing at their absolute best. In this way, Schroeder continues to be an invaluable member of the team, just as he was years ago during his athletic career. “It’s a project, and when a project goes well it’s incredibly rewarding. That’s the way rowing is,” Schroeder said. Meanwhile at Parson’s Field, it’s game day - the first of many in a busy week for Northeastern’s small team of equipment managers. On location is Eric Anastasi, who has shown up hours before the first pitch to make sure everything is in place for the baseball home opener against Hartford University. The real preparation, though, started days before. Uniforms had to be gathered and the locker room had to be stocked with bats, balls, gloves, and everything in between. All this was done so the athletes could show up, play ball, and leave with a commanding 3-1 win under their belts. Although the athletes may have gone home, the work doesn’t stop there for the equipment managers. For Anastasi, the action continues late into the night. Pants need repairing, jerseys need sewing, and an impressive amount of laundry needs washing. A typical baseball game yields roughly seven 60lb drums worth of laundry before even getting to the pants, which often require extra washes. With baseball out of the way, all the other sports need to be prepared for. The spring season brings ice hockey, basketball, and soccer. Setting up everything needed for the teams requires countless hours of hard work and dedication, and it can’t be done alone. “It’s very crazy and hectic, so to be part of a team is really no choice,” Anastasi said.
For Anastasi, that team is made up of co-head equipment managers Sandra Menee and Robert Moura. Together, they ensure that all Northeastern games are able to go off without a hitch, and it’s the behind-the-scenes preparation where the bulk of their job is done. “We’re the best sous chefs in the world - it’s the preparation that’s so important,” Menee, who is in her 12th year as an equipment manager at Northeastern, said. “I don’t think any day is typical, it depends on the time of year. If you think about a weekend where there’s a home game for men’s and women’s hockey, men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball, the cool thing about being a fan is that you just get to show up and see the game. What happens with those teams being prepared, outside of their coaches, falls on Rob, Eric, and myself.” However, the equipment managers are also fans of the teams and enjoy the game day adrenaline the same as the rest of us. Of course, they are on call during the games and have to be ready to respond to the occasional shoelace tear, sneaker blowout, or bloody jersey, but when the games are running smoothly, you might be able to catch them on the sidelines cheering the teams on. “I probably get way too competitive for a manager,” Anastasi admitted. “To see the players win championships is truly what makes it special. To see players lift trophies and have the chance to win national championships, that’s really what makes it worthwhile in the end.” But ask any of the equipment managers and they will tell you that their absolute favorite part of the job by far is developing lasting relationships with the athletes. Whether it’s meeting athletes from foreign countries and learning about their cultures, or helping them in their personal lives away from their sport, the connections that the equipment
managers make are deep and lasting. This relationship is perhaps most exemplified by Menee’s office, which features an entire wall filled with 12 years worth of photos of Northeastern athletes. The photos showcase the athletes during games, but also graduations, group pictures from media days, photos of herself and the athletes, and other shots of them at their happiest. “I try to build this community inside of my equipment room and that’s why the athletes know that they can come to me for things outside of their sport,” Menee said. She explained that after graduation, athletes keep in touch and occasionally stop by the equipment managers’ office to say hi, send invitations to bridesmaid parties, or even reveal that they tell their children about their equipment managers. Whether it’s prepping early in the morning and late at night, doing laundry for the third straight time, retaping the hockey sticks, or putting out “fires,” equipment managers are a critical asset to the teams at Northeastern. It’s their work that allows Northeastern athletics to be not only functional, but successful. “We’re considered a dirty job,” Menee finished. “People often don’t see that we’re the foundation, and you can’t build unless you have a solid foundation.”
THE RED & BLACK
A FRIENDLY RIVALRY How Competition for a Singular Spot Created a Lifelong Friendship BY KIERA BOHEN & SARA COREY
e are the Division I athletes who were never meant to be Division I athletes. Growing up we tried a bunch of sports. To say we were mediocre is, frankly, an understatement. No collegiate coaches were looking to recruit two 5’3, 100 pound girls for their teams. If we wanted to continue with athletics past high school, we were going to have to find the right sport, and by some kind of miracle, we both found rowing and became coxswains. In the fall of 2017 there were only two returning coxswains on our team, leaving one seat open for championship racing, but two of us.
Head of the Charles, October 2017 Kiera: This is where things started to get really hard for me, because I felt like I was gaining a lot of momentum on the team and was boated in the Second Varsity 8, just under the senior coxswain. So the race was definitely a big deal for me. Sara: I knew that the coaches were only going to enter three boats in the race, and knowing that I was not going to be one of those coxswains hurt.
“THEY WERE BOTH WILLING TO PUT ASIDE THEIR OWN PERSONAL AMBITIONS FOR THE GOOD OF THE TEAM.” -JOE WILHELM, WOMEN’S ROWING HEAD COACH Sara Corey: Getting in a boat for the first time, I knew that I had to shoot my shot and try to impress the coaching staff if I wanted a chance at racing with a top crew. It was a lot of pressure. Kiera Bohen: Definitely, for me coming from a program in high school where I didn’t have to compete for the top boat, I knew that this would be different for me. Sara: We both set very high expectations for ourselves in general, especially since we both came from programs where we were the top varsity coxswains. I was so focused on proving myself and showing my dedication. Kiera: I’d say realizing how hard you were going to work and knowing I was going to have to match that everyday was where we started to clash.
Kiera: And obviously on the flip side, I was over the moon about it. Until that Monday before racing weekend, I was just in so much pain and ended up passing out in the boathouse. I ended up going to the hospital to find out I needed my appendix removed. So, cue emergency surgery and two weeks recovery time. I was not going to be racing that weekend. Sara: And it was me that took Kiera’s place. I felt bad for the situation, but I was excited about the opportunity and just wanted to prove that I was worthy. I had to be as good as Kiera for my, or our, crew while still being myself. Kiera: For me, this is where I started to fall apart. I had lost a lot of practice time and Sara was doing a great job in the boat I was in, so there was no reason to move things around.
Foot of the Charles, November 2017
Present Day, 2020
Sara: I was boated in the Second Varsity 8, and it felt validating to be in a boat that I thought I had worked so hard to be coxing.
Kiera: I think it was best to have a summer apart from the team and each other to reflect on what was actually important to us. Throughout sophomore year, Sara felt less to me like competition and more like an asset to make our team more successful.
Kiera: I was in the Third Varsity 8 for Foot of the Charles and it was disheartening because it felt like my progress had been halted. Sara: This time, it was personal. Boating was based on skill and the coaches had formally ranked us. Kiera: I was ending the racing season in a boat I felt I didn’t deserve to be in. It was a very new feeling for me and I ended up letting it sour my relationship with Sara. I saw her as more competition than any other school we raced.
CAA Championships, May 2018 Sara: I had earned a spot as the Second Varsity coxswain for a majority of the spring season until one week before the CAA Championships, when I was replaced by Kiera. It was demoralizing. I thought I had truly earned my seat for the championship season, and then it was taken away. Kiera: I obviously was excited to be moved up, but the reasoning was confusing. Sara: Regardless of boating assignments: we won CAAs! We were so excited we would be moving on to the NCAA Championships in Sarasota, Florida. But deep down, I was sad because being in the Third Varsity 8, which doesn’t race nationally, meant that my season was over.
Sara: And I felt the same way about Kiera. Our first year put a lot of strain on the two of us that only we could understand. That made us allies and allowed us to confide in one another. Kiera: It took us a year of tension to realize we actually get along really well! Sara takes me on runs way farther than I can actually go and I make sure she lets loose every once in a while. Sara: We are such driven people, but we balance each other out. Kiera: In the boathouse we have grown so much too. We know each other’s next move on the water and can commiserate when we step out of the boat after a hard day. Having a friendship like ours has made me a better coxswain. Sara: On the water, we work well together. We run practices alongside each other seamlessly and turn together through narrow bridges with our oars just inches apart. Our mutual trust has allowed us to develop our skills as coxswains. Kiera: When we need advice or just a friend, we are always there for each other. We have become friends that can trust each other with anything. Even though it took us a year to figure that out, we are lucky we did.
Kiera: I had pretty much spent all spring season in the mindset that I would not go to NCAAs, but after our open water win at CAAs, I felt confident that I would be in Sarasota. I didn’t feel good about the way it happened, seeing Sara have a lot of success all season and then last minute taking her seat, but that was racing. Sara: I was packing up to head home when I got a phone call from one of the coaches telling me not to get on my flight. The coaching staff had changed their minds about coxswain lineups, and I was shocked. What about Kiera? Kiera: It didn’t feel fair to both Sara and I. It also meant I had to watch from the sidelines as my team traveled to Florida in a boat I felt I had been secure in. Sara: I felt like an outsider my first day back in the boat. I just had to be my best and hope that my rowers would trust me and accept the coaches’ decision. At the NCAA Championships we ended up placing 17th against the best programs in the country.
KIERA BOHEN THE RED & BLACK
HOMEGROWN GRIT The Trials and Triumphs of Competing in New England
BY JUSTIN CHEN PHOTOS BY CHRISTIAN GOMEZ
oston loves the Red Sox, but Boston is not a good place for college baseball. Baseball is an outdoor sport and Boston is not a place where the weather is nice, especially during the precious few months of collegiate baseball. The crippling cold makes it impossible to practice outdoors for months. But if you looked at head coach Mike Glavine and his team, you would never know it. Northeastern’s baseball team has stood up against many forms of adversity to create a special team. And with the help of some old-fashion grit, this team has forged a winning culture and looks to make a run at the CAA title every season. What makes this team different than most is how the majority of the players – 20 out of 35 – are from Massachusetts, with many more from neighboring New England states. “It is definitely by design,” Glavine said. “It allows us to see them play multiple times [since they are so close] and you don’t have to make a one time judgment [since] you see them play many times so that’s really helpful to make us feel better about our evaluations.” That is crucial for any team playing at the level the Huskies are – finishing with a winning record in four of their last five
seasons, as well as a trip to a College Baseball World Series regional in 2018. For a New England team, these accomplishments mean even more. They all have a common opponent – the winter. Unlike their southern collegiate counterparts who have relatively good weather all year, college teams in New England have to face the elements with little to no flexibility around them. Northeastern is only able to practice at Parsons Field during the fall semester and moves indoors to the Cabot Cage from November to February. Glavine noted that his New England players are used to this weather and alternative training. But for the others, it’s a culture shock. Matt Lord, a freshman infielder hailing from Naples, Florida, said he had to adapt on the fly. Growing up in a warm climate, Lord was able to practice outdoors on a field year round, so spending months indoors was entirely new to him. “The main thing is to get as many practices as I could in [in the winter] and the more you do it, the more used to it you get,” Lord said. There is an infield set up in Cabot, but there are still many differences between that and a real field. The area behind
second base is cramped. The lighting is far from the same. The ball bounces differently and unpredictably on the indoor turf. While the outfielders get busy with footwork, throwing accuracy, and extra batting practice, it is not until before their first game of the season where they practice fielding fly balls again. The team has turned to an unlikely hero to combat the elements: technology. Baseball is one of the most analytical sports, with plenty of equipment capturing advanced performance statistics, like exit velocity, pitch spin rates, and even generating spray charts. Northeastern has implemented technology that professionals use, putting them in the upper echelon of college teams in this department. Glavine said this allows players to see progress despite being indoors, and even compare themselves to major leaguers. Junior infielder Ian Fair also praises the use of technology, as it helps him see how he is hitting the ball, whether it is solid contact or just a lazy fly ball. The Rapsodo, one of the measurement devices the team uses, is like an “equalizer,” he describes. “It makes it seem like we’re actually playing outside even when it’s cold and we’re inside,” Fair said. Freshman pitcher Cam Schlittler said he likes how the data is able to let him see if he needs to put more spin or create more break on his pitches as he crafts his arsenal. “[The Rapsodo] shows us if we hit our spots or not and then it gives a spin rate and everything,” Schlittler said. “We can find out [everything] from the computer and I think it’s really helpful if we need to adjust our pitches. It’s very important for a pitcher to have access to everything you’re doing when you’re throwing a bullpen. It really helps us adjust to the [winter climate] situation, and we can improve our pitching.” Senior outfielder Kyle Peterson, who grew up in Brockton, Mass, got the chance to observe up close how growing up practicing in this challenging environment has shaped himself and other New England ballplayers when he played for his hometown Brockton Rox in the Futures Summer Collegiate Baseball League following his freshman season three years ago. “You go in and you’re playing with kids from California, Florida, all the way up the East Coast,” Peterson described. “Everyone plays differently… people on the West Coast might
MA PLAYER HOMETOWN
have a bit more flashiness, as opposed to people in New England might be more gritty,” Glavine, during his playing days at NU as well in the minor and major leagues, would make it a habit to learn from his different experiences in different parts of the country, something he imparts to his team today. “It’s great for our players to experience that over the summer, because they can learn and they can pick and choose… and bring things back to (Northeastern) that we can use,” Glavine said. “I like to learn and see what other programs are doing so it’s important for me to listen to our players [and what they have learned].” A side effect of playing in a bad spring weather city is the inability to host baseball games during the beginning of the college season. This means, that of all the athletic teams, baseball ends up missing the most amount of time in the classroom, often missing full weeks of classes to play multiple series or in tournaments in other regions of the US. A difficult environment, as noted by Schlittler. “It’s a struggle to have two jobs to do,” Schlittler said. “In high school there wasn’t much of an overlay [between school and baseball]. As a freshman group it was pretty hard for everyone because it’s hard to adjust to having two [responsibilities].” The upperclassmen have done their part to help the youngsters transition into this new athletic and academic environment. Highlighted by the mental and physical toughness, knack for overcoming adversity, and, most importantly, the love of baseball, Northeastern has developed into one of the top teams in the CAA. “We’re used to bad weather, we’re used to [limited] facilities,” Fair summarized. “We don’t really make excuses, we just go out there and play.” THE RED & BLACK
IN IT FOR THE LONG RUN BY ERIK MCMILLAN PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN GOMEZ
Erik McMillan’s Journey From the Air Force Academy to Northeastern
hen everyone goes to college for the first time, they have this vision in their head of how it’s going to be. Athletes envision the game winning shot; the perfect strikeout; or for us runners, breaking the tape first. But rarely does college line up to that vision, which I learned the hard way. I chose the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) over some big east and west coast schools after watching my parents serve for a combined 43+ years in the Air Force. Beyond the profound attraction to soaring among the clouds like my father, what drew me to serve was seeing how he led and inspired others, how those he served through command respected and followed him, and how the military gave my mom poise to act with confidence through even the toughest times – I wanted to achieve something like that, too. By the time I decided on USAFA, my sister had already been there for two years; whenever she came home, she seemed to have become even stronger and more respectable than before, which, considering who she inherently was, seemed
MEN’S TRACK & FIELD
impossible. The decision became simple. But my first morning at the academy set a different tone for the rest of my freshman year – tumultuous, crazy, and a little depressing. I woke up to upperclassmen banging on the door, yelling to get dressed and fall out into the hallway. When we got out, we were told nothing we were doing was right, and everything we would do would be wrong; and so it went for six weeks of basic training, then nine months of the academic year. I felt stripped of my individuality, just another freshman with the same gold cap and green uniform. I wasn’t prepared to feel helpless, unable to prove to the upperclassmen that I wasn’t a slacker or a loser because everything I did said otherwise. But I always figured I would be able to escape it at track practice. I hadn’t been recruited, but I was still quite above average, so I thought I’d finagle my way onto the team by exaggerating my abilities – but that arrogance and pride made things worse. With my tail between my legs after a dismal tryout, I joined USAFA’s marathon team, a group of some real genuine people. But even here I got my butt kicked and for nine more months, I ran poorly. My primary training partner, Mark, whom I tried to falsely convince myself I was “so much better than,” continuously outperformed me in every race.
Thus, until May of freshman year, I lived in this nightmarish reality where nothing went as I’d hoped. The classes were much harder than high school, people were constantly yelling at me to exceed militarily, and despite my best, most desperate efforts, I was running dreadfully. Additionally, I wasn’t able to see my sister often due to class distinction, and I felt my personal relationships slipping away from me. I missed my friends and felt like I had no one at the academy whom I could turn to. It seemed everything I’d sacrificed to go to such a prestigious institution had been for nothing. I keep a journal, and on April 12th of that year, I wrote this quote: “To remain indifferent to the challenges we face is indefensible. If the goal is noble, whether or not it is realized within our lifetime is largely irrelevant. What we must do, therefore, is to strive, persevere, and never give up.” – Dalai Lama, the 14th Three weeks later I ran my first marathon and blew everyone’s expectations out of the water, including my own, by finishing first on the team. Running for me is about self-improvement – if I could show the world that someone who was as slow as me could improve, then I could improve in other aspects of life as well. When I hid behind that wall of depression and self-pity, I was making excuses and never changing anything, especially my outlook. Once I got over myself, everything else fell into place. I ran the 2017 and 2018 Boston Marathons, and in 2018, even after coming back from a stress fracture, I placed 67th out of nearly 30,000. I was blessed to have a few teammates to train with, but many of my runs, workouts, and long sessions were solo. It was during solo training that I learned to fall in love with the sport all over again, dreaming about where it could take me if I invested myself wholeheartedly into it. Before senior year, I accompanied a family friend to track tryouts. I had no intention of trying to walk-on – I figured that ship had long since sailed – but that night, I received an email from the same coach who had rightfully rejected me before, inviting me to talk to him. The next day I was a D1 athlete. Despite my senior year at the academy having its
PHOTOS COURTESY OF ERIK MCMILLAN
own set of struggles, I finished it as a two-time varsity letter winning athlete on a national caliber running program. The Air Force made graduate school my first assignment, and I quickly made up my mind. I received MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory Military Fellowship, but knew I wanted to continue to run, and after some research and talking with the coaching staff, I realized there was no better place to do so than Northeastern. Finding motivation to run is effortless – I’m surrounded by good runners, so it naturally follows that I’m becoming one, too. Despite a disappointing cross country season with minor injuries, I bounced back during indoor, all thanks to my teammates’ love and support. The team’s culture is all about improving ourselves on and off the track; it’s helped me become a better runner and person. After I graduate, I will attend pilot training, in the hopes of realizing my dream of flying among the clouds – hopefully in something sharp and pointy (a fighter jet). But I’ve developed a second dream: to be the fastest runner I can be. My coach at the academy would say, “At the end of the day, it’s just running.” But once, a teammate finally responded, “You know, coach, I’ve got to believe that it’s so much more than just running. Why else would any of us have spent hours, years, doing all of this other stuff ?” I think about that quote every day. Many people have asked me what my defining moment in running was, and I couldn’t think of one, because there never was just one – it was every time I laced up my shoes and went for a run, reaffirming that I wanted to be better, that I was contributing to something bigger than myself… that what I was doing was more than just running. Through all the hardships, I’m proud to say that not once did I give up on myself; I persevered, even when I didn’t want to, and that’s why I’m where I am today, and probably why I’ll be where I am tomorrow, too.
THE RED & BLACK
HAMMERING IT HOME
After Winning Gold, Track Captain Erica Belvit Has Her Sight Set on All-American BY SARAH OLENDER
n May 2018, the women’s track and field team won the CAA Championship, not just because of their stellar performance in events, but also because they had athletes like Erica Belvit, a sophomore at the time, running back and forth to check in and care for tired teammates. With some athletes participating in three or more events, it was all hands on deck to make sure everyone was hydrating, felt energized, and checked into their events on time. Belvit was making sure everyone was doing that even while she was busy pulling together her own third place performance. “She makes an effort to check on other [teammates],” Tramaine Shaw, head coach of the women’s track and field team, said. “She’s always willing to serve the team.” Shaw sees Belvit, now a senior, as a leader because of her willingness to help her fellow teammates on and off the track, as seen in the 2018 CAA Championships, but to Belvit, moments like this come naturally. She enjoys helping others out, and recalls this meet as one of her favorite memories while being on the track and field team at Northeastern. While she forged a deep connection with her teammates, the Bloomfield, Conn., native also frequently checks in with the coaching staff and has established meaningful relationships with her coaches. Belvit’s coaches know about
“IT’S NOT THAT THINGS COME EASIER, IT’S THAT HER HARD WORK SHOWS.” SPRING 2020
WOMEN’S TRACK & FIELD
her strong passion for both academics, as a combined finance and a management information systems major, and athletics, where Belvit spends time talking to her coaches about her ambitious goals. “When I was talking to my coach about going to Jamaica, I mentioned it as a joke,” Belvit said. She wanted to go to the Jamaican National Championships, but never realized that dream could actually become a reality. Until she did it. She didn’t just go to the Jamaican National Championships either, she took home the gold in her strongest event: the hammer throw. At the time, it seemed like an unimaginable goal, but that win only seemed to humble her and make her a stronger leader, teacher and athlete for the team. “Erica is someone who leads on and off the track,” Shaw said. “She’s really stepped into a role as a leader across the entire program these last two seasons.” Determined, passionate and resilient, Belvit is one of the top leaders, both morally and statistically, on the team. “I’m more of a lead-by-example captain,” Belvit said. “One of our other captains vocalizes a lot. Me, I’m more someone who helps you out with every problem you have. I’ll talk, sit
PHOTOS COURTESY OF JIM PIERCE NORTHEASTERN ATHLETICS
down with you, for hours. I try to tell people to do what’s best for them.” Belvit’s teammates appreciate this, recognizing her leadership abilities and strong work ethic. “She has always been one of the top performers on our team,” Belvit’s teammate, roommate, and close friend, senior thrower Leeyan Redwood said. “It’s not that things come easier, it’s that her hard work shows.” It’s easy to watch movies like “Rocky” and “Miracle” and be inspired by the hard work that the athletes put in. It’s even more inspiring to meet an athlete like Belvit who works that hard in real life. “When she first came to us as a freshman, her desire to achieve was just so strong. You never have to worry about her being late or slacking off,” Shaw said. Belvit holds the program record for the hammer throw (62.38 meters, set in 2019), which qualified her to compete - and eventually win - the event at the Jamaican National Championships in June 2019. “It was the culmination of that whole year,” Shaw said. “She showed a tremendous amount of maturity and passion. It put things into perspective and helped her recognize it was going to be a journey.”
Winning the hammer throw event at the Jamaican National Championships definitely was a notable moment in her track career, but it didn’t come without resilience. Athletes like Belvit, who put in the hours of training and end up finding success, can often appear fearless, but self-doubt is a challenge for all athletes, and when competing on a national level, there is no room for it. So Belvit pushes through. “I had to get out of my head,” Belvit said. “Everyone gets nervous, but when you get on the national level, it doesn’t matter if there’s 5000 or 500 people in the stadium, you feel different. There is no room for that doubt, that second guessing. I had to learn how to do that in all the meets prior to that.” Even with the gold medal in hand, Belvit was only seeded 24th at the NCAA Preliminary Round later in 2019. Because she wasn’t expected to do as well as some of her competitors, she said that she didn’t feel as much pressure. Instead of self-doubt, she had something else in the back of her mind: self-confidence. “Everyone wants to do well, but I didn’t come here saying ‘I’m going to nationals,’ I came here saying ‘I’m going to do my best,’” Belvit said. “I had to look at what I have, what I have to do, trust what I’ve done, and just go.” Belvit moved up 11 spots, all the way to 13th for the hammer throw. However, only the top 12 seeds moved on to nationals. After coming agonizingly close, Belvit was looking forward to climbing over one last hurdle and earning a top 12 spot. Although her plans have been postponed due to COVID-19, Redwood knows that Belvit will find a way.
“She overcomes,” Redwood said. “Obstacles are always thrown our way. Our throwing event is a metaphor, we take the difficult things in our life and throw them away from us.” While Belvit’s fourth season was cancelled, a recent NCAA ruling will give senior track athletes another opportunity to compete in the outdoor season next year. After recognizing how much she loved competing on an international level, Belvit is going to use the time off from Northeastern to continue training for her final outdoor season. She will keep up on her training so that she can continue smashing through the goals she set for herself. “I want to be an All-American. I also want to make the Olympic Trials and I want to go to the Olympics,” Belvit said. Even though Belvit has made significant strides on the field, conquered goal after goal and dominated in her throwing events, her biggest accomplishment isn’t a trophy or award, and oftentimes she doesn’t measure success with a win. “My biggest accomplishment is getting through all the seasons and saying ‘that’s not enough,’” Belvit said. “I’m always looking for what’s next.” THE RED & BLACK
BANNER PHOTO COURTESY OF BRIGETTE MULLER
FLYING WITH HIGH SPIRITS Brigette Muller Radiates Positivity BY MADISON NEUNER
y the time the 2017 Brown Springtime Invite rolled around, her last chance to qualify for the CAA Championships, Brigette Muller had no-heighted all season. A freshman walk-on pole vaulter at Northeastern, she was sure that even if she cleared the bar at this meet, her coaches would have no reason to take her to CAAs - why would they, if she hadn’t yet cleared a bar at Northeastern? But she knew it was her last chance, so she followed her instincts. She cleared 10-6 - the first time she’d done anything - and went on to finish ninth at CAAs. Her positive, persevering outlook has not failed her since. When Muller joined the track and field team, her teammates had no idea just how much effect one person could have on the outlook of a whole team. Now, four years later, they admire her ability to maintain a positive attitude in all situations, and it’s contagious. “Pole vault is such a mental challenge, and to have someone who’s so positive and who has your back, it’s really helpful,” sophomore pole vaulter Melissa Purcell said. Muller was a cheerleader in high school, and was an annual attendee of a summer camp where she began to learn and fall in love with trapeze. She only tried pole vaulting in high school because the pole vault coach recommended it. “And here we are, eight years later,” Muller said. Although Muller was admittedly not the most skilled pole vaulter on the Northeastern track team, her teammates look up to her regardless. Ask teammates and friends about Muller, and sentiments of “treats her teammates like family” and the close-knit “pole vault squad” make it clear that she is one of the most respected members of the entire 83-person team. “People are automatically drawn to Brigette because of how fun and lively she is,” pole vault coach, Jacilyn Briggs said. The best accomplishment of Muller’s career, according
WOMEN’S TRACK & FIELD
PHOTO BY MADISON NEUNER
to Briggs, had little to do with pole vaulting at all – she was simply always able to bounce back and push through adversity, and never lost her trademark positive outlook. Muller’s other trademark is her colorful hair and bright outfits. She “marches to the beat of her own drum,” senior teammate Eliana Sirkin said. “We never know what we’re going to get with Brigette; sometimes it’s pink, sometimes it’s orange, sometimes it’s a rainbow, she redyes her hair like every week. It’s super fun to see what’s going to happen next.” Her style perfectly reflects her personality: bright, colorful and original. Muller is now a counselor at her summer camp, where she specializes in teaching kids trapeze. “It’s so fun to fly through the air,” Muller said. “It’s nice to be really good at something.” To Muller, trapeze is very similar to pole vault. “They cross paths in a lot of ways.” Muller’s passion for trapeze fascinates her teammates and coaches. “It’s really important to her, and it’s something that’s unique about her,” Purcell said. Briggs said that this was just another example of how willing and excited Muller is to try anything. After graduation, Muller plans to spend 15 weeks at the circus camp before travelling around the United States with circus staff. Following that will be what Briggs called her “trapeze escapades”: visiting her best friend’s Listo Trapeze Company in Australia, visiting another friend’s trapeze rig in Thailand, and “trapezing around the world,” Muller said. After these adventures Muller will settle down and do another thing she’s wanted to do her whole life: teach physics. She is admired for taking time between college and being a teacher to do trapeze, something she equally loves. “You don’t see a lot of people do that; a lot of people just get a job to have a job,” junior pole vaulter Leah Saifi said. In the end Muller will be remembered at Northeastern for her crazy hair colors, neverending perseverance and contagious positivity. “It’s an honor to meet someone like Brigette even just once in your lifetime,” Saifi said. “If you know Brigette, you’re a really lucky person.”
DEDICATION AWARD An award given during the annual Howlin’ Huskies Awards, The Red & Black Dedication Award is presented to the male and female athlete deemed most dedicated to their sport and their Northeastern academic and athletic lives, as determined by their peers.
145 games played (tied for sixth most all-time at NU) Led the Huskies to their winningest season in program history (32 wins) Career-high 11 assists through 38 games
“She cares about the team and the program more than anybody I know. She is beyond proud to be a husky and wears the jersey with pride.”
2020 Hockey East Sportsmanship Award
“She is selfless, passionate, authentic, unbelievably hardworking, and a great leader.” “I aspire to lead as well as she did this year on and off the ice.”
“Goes the extra mile in every way and is always around for the underclassman for advice.” “I have never met someone that is more committed to all parts of being a student athlete.”
“Will showed an unparalleled degree of support and dedication to the team all while facing what at times looked like a career ending injury.”
PHO TO BY C
“I know that Paige would take a bullet for every teammate and the passion she has for the game of hockey goes unmatched.”
G IAN IST HR
YEAR: SENIOR POSITION: DEFENSE MAJOR: COMMUNICATIONS
“He’s a great role model and someone that I look up to.”
YEAR: JUNIOR SEAT: SEVEN SEAT MAJOR: BUSINESS
HIGHLIGHTS Raced with the first varsity in the bow seat, helping them to a time of 5:49.40 and defeating Boston University Sat seven seat, leading first varsity to fifth place in the Grand Final (5:41.346) at the IRA Championships
THE RED & BLACK