While some Yalies will lounge on the beach or catch up on lost sleep over spring break, varsity athletes will leave New Haven to train and fight for the Bulldogs.
Men’s tennis goes to California, women’s golf to Hawaii, and baseball to Florida. Each team heads to a different place, but they all seek the same thing: warm weather to hone their skills.
The men’s tennis team heads to California to compete against several southern California schools. The trip begins March 12 against Loyola Marymount and finishes with the University of San Diego March 22. In between, the Bulldogs also will face the University of California at Irvine, the University of Portland and San Diego State University.
Senior Ben Woodhouse ’03 said California is the best place to go because of the competition and climate.
“There really are no good teams to play on the East Coast beside the Ivy League schools,” Woodhouse said. “We also get a chance to get used to playing outside, because we have been practicing indoor for the past four months.”
California’s warm climate will give the Eli’s a chance to adjust to various outdoor factors such as wind and sun. More importantly, many of California’s collegiate men’s tennis programs rank in the nation’s Top 40.
“We use the trip to get in good shape and get match tough, and playing six matches in two weeks is just the right amount of competition,” David Goldman ’04 said.
In preparation for California, the tennis team has trained intensely.
“Juniors Neil Tolaney ’04 and Dan Arellano ’04 have really been setting the tone for work ethic in practice,” Woodhouse said.
The women’s golf team will leave rainy New Haven for sunny Hawaiian sun. From March 17 to March 19, Yale will compete in the D R Thompson Rainbow Tournament and face a new course and new competition. Schools with strong women’s golf programs, including the University of Southern California and Arizona State University, will join the Elis at the tournament.
Because Yale only has two more tournaments after Hawaii before the Ivy League Championship April 25, it is a crucial part of the team’s training.
“We are a bit out of practice right now, since we haven’t been able to play at all or practice very much because of the weather,” Stephanie Wei ’05 said. “The trip will allow us to get our games back to a competitive tournament level.”
Jordanna Davis ’03 said heading to warmer weather was the best way for the team to improve and prepare for Ivy League competition.
“Most of us don’t live in climates where we can play now, so traveling to Hawaii, or some other warm locale, is the only way for us to get out on a course,” Davis said.
For the past three years, the team has traveled to Florida over spring break to practice. Every four years, the team trains at a location outside the continental United States. Four years ago, the team traveled to Ireland.
The baseball team travels to the IMG Baseball Academy in Bradenton, Fla., today. Saturday, the team starts the season with a week of tough competition, beginning with the University of Rhode Island. The team also will face Bucknell, Lehigh, the University of Vermont, and the University of Massachusetts. En route back to New Haven, the team will face North Carolina’s Davidson College March 19.
Despite the busy schedule, Dave Fortenbaugh ’03 said that all of the games would not fatigue the team.
“It would take a lot more than eight or nine games to burn us out at this point,” Fortenbaugh said. “A lot of people get a chance to play, so the coaches can get a better of idea who will be able to help us the most when the league games begin.”
By the time the Bulldogs return, they hope to be ready for the spring sports season — without all the snow.