(photo credit: 104.5 The Team/Randy King)

Earlier this month, 104.5 The Team's reporter/producer Randy King covered this year's media day. 

 

Building a winning culture at a college program is harder than it sounds. However, the Bryant & Stratton-Albany Bobcats have gotten off to quite the start in order to do so.

Last year was the inaugural season for the Bryant & Stratton-Albany to introduce athletics to the campus due to the attendance of the college growing.

The success that was exhibited from the student athletes last season made waves and caught the attention of other student athletes as others quickly joined a growing sports program.

The expanding athletics department included the introduction of men’s and women’s soccer as well as women’s basketball.

“Where we were as a campus 18 months ago, there was a discussion two to three years prior with the enrollment growing to find ways to keep enrollment going up,” said Bobcats men’s basketball head coach as well as Director of Athletics Pat Filien. “Athletics was where the discussion ended up and with our campus here and given the growth and surprised success we had last season, the decision was made to add the three additional sports in women’s basketball and soccer as well as men’s soccer.”

It was men’s basketball and men’s baseball that were the first two athletics programs instituted for the Bobcats.

The basketball team won 18 games, made it to the National Championship game and earned a bid in the USCAA (United States Collegiate Athletic Association) National Tournament.

The Bobcats baseball team carried the momentum from the basketball team into their season as they too would get to the National Championship game as they would earn runner-up honors in the USCAA tournament.

“We were runners-up last season but we have a bunch of new players on the roster this year,” said Bobcats team captain and outfielder John Loschiavo. “We are all hungry to get back to where we got last season and it is a competition for everyone here to come in and make each other better.”

For the new teams being introduced to the athletics department, there could be a high level of expectations placed upon them based off the success from last years teams winning at a high clip. However, Filien doesn’t want to burden these new teams with such goals.

“I’m not going to place National Championship or bust expectations on our new coaching staff,” said FIlien. “Last year, we didn’t know what we had but when you have young people who have strong work ethics and the wins hopefully will come like they did last year but what things will look like for the new teams, we will just have to let it play out.”

The bar is set high for the three new programs, but one head coach in particular believes that their bunch is ready to carry on the winning ways of Bryant & Stratton-Albany.

“If these ladies continue the hard work that has been put on display in only two weeks of pre-season then we can be special group this year,” said Jaclyn Welch. “Pre-season conditioning has been no joke and these ladies are working their tails off, getting in shape and getting ready for the season.”

The Bobcats men’s soccer season is currently underway with them sitting at a 2-1 record, beating teams like FMCC as well as Northern Vermont – Lydon College. Their next match-up is slated for Wednesday September 25th against Northern Vermont – Lydon yet again.

While it is only two seasons in for the young and hungry Bobcats program, one thing that can be said is that winning seems to have been a theme thus far and a habit that will benefit for many successful years down the road.