For most of their history donning purple and white colors, the now-Mammoths of Amherst, Mass. were informally known as the “Lord Jeffs.” It was only in 2016 that the mascot of the school was changed in reference to a large mammoth skeleton that is on display in one of the school’s museums. With the selection, the Mammoths became Tufts’ only other proboscidean rival in the NESCAC, and this gigantic-sized rivalry is reflected throughout a wide array of sports. Specifically, the Mammoths are an infamous basketball powerhouse — the women’s team has clinched three NESCAC and two NCAA championships since 2016.
The Bobcats of Bates College have rocked garnet red around the fields of Lewiston, Maine since 1855. Of course, when it comes to the playing field, one has to turn their attention to the water instead and follow the continued dominance of both the men’s and women’s crew teams. Both teams captured NESCAC championships this year, granting them four of the last five conference titles for the men and five-of-six for the women. The rowing legacy was furthered by Canadian Olympian and Bates alumnus Andrew Bynes (LA’05), who won Gold in Beijing in the men’s eights. Apart from its crew teams, no other Bates team placed first or second in any of the NESCAC championships last year.
The Bowdoin Polar Bears may call chilly Brunswick, Maine home, but the surrounding weather has by no means served as a limitation on their athletic success. This is especially evident on the men’s tennis front, where recently graduated duo Jerry Jiang (LA’19) and Grant Urken (LA’19) triumphed in the NCAA doubles championships. Usually dominant, Bowdoin’s field hockey team slipped up in the NESCAC tournament and could not add on to its previous eight conference titles. The volleyball team also captured a NESCAC title, which was Bowdoin’s sole title during the 2018–19 season.
Founded in 1813 and long overshadowed athletically by its Maine neighbors Bowdoin and Bates, the Mules from Waterville, Maine are making strides to catch up. Colby shocked then-No. 2 seeded Tufts by knocking them out on penalties in the 2018 NESCAC men’s soccer tournament before downing Amherst and Williams to claim the NESCAC title and an unexpected spot in the NCAA tournament. On the track and field, rising senior Sage Bailin took third in the 400-meter hurdles at NCAA Div. III championships. Flaunting the colors of blue and gray, Sophie Stokes Cerkvenik (LA’19) captured fifth in the 60-meter hurdles at the indoor NCAA Div. III’s before claiming sixth in the 100-meter hurdles in the outdoor NCAA Div. III championships.
The Camels of Conn. College in navy and Carolina blue reside in, guess where, Connecticut — New London, to be specific. Founded in 1911, Conn. College failed to register a first or second-place finish in any NESCAC competition last season. However, the Camels still managed to boast their fair-share of All-Americans and All-American honorable mentions, including 15 in women’s swimming and diving. The women’s team placed 15th at NCAA Div. III National Championships, while men’s soccer made the second round of the NCAA Div. III tournament.
The only NESCAC school not located in New England, the Hamilton Continentals reside in Clinton, N.Y. and boast buff and blue as colors. The college gets its name from Board of Trustees member and Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, and became a coeducational institution in 1978 after merging with the all-women Kirkland College. The Continental’s first and only national championship came in 2008 in women’s lacrosse. Since 1980, Hamilton and old rival Middlebury face off in the annual Rocking Chair Classic football game. Middlebury has maintained possession of the “Mac-Jack Rocking Chair” — the winner’s prize — for the majority of the rivalry’s lifespan.
Last season, the Middlebury Panthers were the most successful team in the NESCAC, earning a conference-high six championships across six unique sports. For three of these titles — field hockey, women’s lacrosse and men’s track and field — the Jumbos were runner-ups in their respective championship sports. Historically, women’s lacrosse has been a strength for Middlebury; the Jumbos found their only non-NCAA losses of the season to the Panthers, who barely edged out a victory last season in the NESCAC championship game en route to their 10th conference title in the sport.
With blue and gold colors, the Trinity Bantams of Hartford, Conn., are perhaps the most widely recognized for their dominance on the Gridiron. Tufts’ own football coach Jay Civetti is an alumnus of the program. Despite a resurgence of NESCAC domination for his team, Tufts football still owes its longest losing streak to Civetti’s prior team, having not won against the Bantams since 2007. With additional 2018–19 NESCAC titles in men’s golf, men’s ice hockey and both men’s and women’s squash, the Bantams are among the top adversaries for the Jumbos in the NESCAC.
The Wesleyan Cardinals were unwillingly referred to as the Methodists until the 1933 baseball captain wore a baseball jacket with a cardinal on the pocket, and the name stuck. Although their nest in Middletown, Conn. hasn’t been a powerhouse historically, it has been heating up lately, especially in women’s tennis. This year, the team not only captured their first-ever NESCAC title, but went on to capture Wesleyan’s second-ever team NCAA championship after men’s lacrosse won their first in 2018. They accomplished this even after the graduation of alumnus and tennis phenomenon Eudice Chong (LA’18), who was the first person in NCAA history to win four consecutive titles.
Among the most esteemed and successful sporting schools in the NESCAC, the Williams College Ephs — who are nicknamed after school founder Ephraim Williams — once again proved their athletic prowess this year with their seventh-straight Learfield IMG Directors Cup first-place finish. The cup, which is used to evaluate the top overall performing teams in Div. III sports, has been awarded to the Ephs in Williamstown, Mass. a whopping 22 times in the cup’s 24-year history. Although the school was tied in 2018 with Trinity for the second most conference championship victories at five (trailing Middlebury’s six), the Ephs led all other teams in total NESCAC championship game appearances with 12.