“By Tanja Staben”
Sports are a big part of the American society, especially at the college level. It helps the athletes develop specific character traits like fairness, friendliness, team spirit, as well as physical and mental toughness. When looking at sports in relation to academics, it is believed that students achieve more academically if they are physically fit. But also, non-athletes benefit from the sport culture. Sports not only offer entertainment, but they also create a bond within the community by providing a sense of identity, for example, at Rocky Mountain College everybody belongs to the Battlin´ Bears.
RMC competes in six fall sports: Cheerleading, Football, Golf, Volleyball, Soccer, and Cross Country.
Here is an overview of your fall 2019 Battlin´ Bears sport teams:
Coach Latisha Demarais says, “I love cheerleading. Most people that know me say I have ‘an addiction to cheer.’ I cheered for 12 years, and I love everything about it. All sports bring people together as their own little family in a way, but the trust cheer gives a team is just a different feeling. I couldn’t imagine a day without cheer!”
The team is made up of 15 members, 13 of which being female, and 2 being male. Coach Demarais says that “The goal for our season is to perform more difficult stunts and make it all clean! We are also fundraising more in order to travel to nationals in January.”
Speaking on performance, Coach Demarais stated that “The team is fantastic. They are very strong in stunting, especially pyramids. I have a few people with solid tumbling, and they’re always willing to try new things. Very versatile.”
Yet the team still faces their challenges. “We are just adjusting to the new season,” said Coach Demarais. “I’m fresh out of college and just graduated from MSU-Bozeman where I cheered for the Cats. The team is amazing at trusting me and taking my changes. There’s nothing really challenging, but it is a transition year.”
Coach Chris Stutzriem stated, “[I] love to give back to the sport that gave me so much and to also be around young men that have the passion that I do for the sport of football. If the world was run like a football program there would be a lot less problems. People from all walks of life and areas coming together to work hard, care about each other and the common goal of success as a whole.”
The football team is comprised of 133 players. 42 of theses players are freshmen, and only seven of them are seniors.
Because the team is comprised of so many freshmen, Coach Stutzriem said that some of their biggest challenges come from playing younger players. “[As] always with playing younger guys, budgets, development and the changing of 18 -22 year olds mentally and physically [can be a large challenge.”
They have made it their goal this year to “Win a conference championship,” said Coach Stutzriem. And although their performance thus far has been below average, Coach Stutzriem said that the “guys are working hard.”
Coach Aaron Pohle stated, “I am very passionate about the game of golf, which is what led me to coaching. It is so different than most other team sports at a campus, and I love the challenges of finding ways to get our student-athletes to perform better in the classroom, the course, and in the community. The biggest reason I coach is to positively impact the lives of our players.”
The golf team is made up of 27 players, 10 of which are freshmen, and six of which are seniors.
Coach Pohle said that “Our goal each season is to get better every day and focus on the process of what it takes to be the best student athletes we can be.”
“We have had a great start to the fall season,” said Coach Pohle. ”Both our men’s and women´s teams have one win and we have three individual wins. Our men’s and women’s teams have wrapped up the regular season Frontier Conference Championship, which is the third year in a row for the men and the fourth year in a row for the women. Both of our teams have shown great growth throughout the fall season so far and we look to continue that growth to finish out.”
Although their season is off to a great start, they still face their challenges. “In golf, you never know what challenges may appear, as in life,” said Coach Pohle. ”We always try to be as prepared as possible to allow us to be flexible and confident whenever we face challenges. We welcome challenges as we feel these moments are what will make us better in life and on the course.”
Coach Yang Yang stated, “Volleyball is the fun sport! You need to have a really quick reaction to get the ball up. And you also need to be aware about what happens around you. It’s a really fun team sport!”
This year, the team is made up of 22 players, six of which are freshmen, and five of which are seniors.
The volleyball team has worked hard this year, with an “Overall of 12-5 and 4-0 in the conference,” according to Coach Yang. Yet their goal for the year is to “Keep working hard and playing hard.”
Coach Richard Duffy stated, “Love for the game is the reason I coach.”
The fall 2019 women’s team is made up of 26 women, six of which are freshmen and eight of which are seniors. The men’s team has 20 men, four being freshmen and three being seniors.
Both teams have high goals this year. According to Coach Duffy, “The goal for the women´s team is to reach the National Tournament for the second time in the history of the program. This Goal can be achieved by winning the regular season championship or winning the cascade conference tournament. The Goal for the men´s team is to win a National Championship. We have reached the elite 8 twice over the last few years and our goal is to go a couple of steps further and win the National Tournament.”
So far performance on both teams has been fairly good, although Coach Duffy says that there’s always room for improvement. “The women’s team is off to a very good start and our record is currently 7-2-1. Although a solid start to the season, there is always room for improvement as the season continues. Performance on the the men’s team has been up and down over the first few weeks, however last weekend´s wins over Oregon Tech and Southern Oregon were a step in the right direction.”
As always, teams have their challenges, and according to Coach Duffy, “Travel is our biggest challenge. We have already travelled to Los Angeles, CA, Jamestown, ND, Seattle, WA and still have to play games in Helena, Portland, OR, and Eugene, OR. Missed class and a lack of practice time while travelling is one of our biggest challenges.”
Coach Mike McLean said that he coaches “To help student-athletes improve their performances in the classroom and in races. It is also a lot of fun to be successful in running. It builds lots of confidence in the student-athletes.”
This year the team roster is made up of 26 student-athletes. Seven of these are freshmen, and two of them are seniors.
Coach McLean said that their goal this year is to win “First place at conference men and women and to qualify for nationals as well as improve our finish from NAIA 2018 Nationals.”
Coach McLean said that their Pre Conference meet at Amend Park went fair, although the team ran tired. The women defeated Carroll (ranked number 12) at the Montana Invite, and the men “ran very strong.”
So far this year Coach McLean stated that their biggest challenge has been “Sickness, health issues, and getting our women’s full team to meets.”
Although they have been met with their ups and downs, the cross country team is hopeful for what the season has yet to bring.