Author: Zach Heerwagen|Spencer Donaldson
Colton Bares (Men’s Golf)
At age 13, Colton Bares was a Little League all-star pitcher with a promising future in baseball. However, when he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery on his elbow, he decided to take his athletic career in a different direction, picking up a set of clubs and giving golf a shot. Bares is an oddity on the course at 6 feet 7 inches tall and requires custom-fit golf clubs. But he believes the extra height provides power to his swing. Bares made the most of his high school career at Pinewood High in Los Altos, Calif. He earned league rookie of the year honors and was also a first-team all-league selection as a junior and senior. After a successful high school career, Bares was not planning on playing college golf. It was only when he started receiving phone calls from Occidental head coach Andrew Larkin that playing at the next level became a reality. Bares posted a 78 on the final day of the Cal State Intercollegiate Golf Tournament, his first event as a college athlete, shooting just one stroke over the best Tiger scores.
Miles Anderson (Men’s Cross Country)
After only two seasons of high school cross country, Miles Anderson has acclimated to the pain of long-distance running and has proven himself a standout in the large first-year class. Although he is relatively new to the sport, Anderson displays the drive of a veteran. His unwavering will helped him finish 58th overall and third for the Tigers at the Roy Griak Invite with a time of 27:54.1 minutes. Anderson viewed the trip to Minnesota as a true introduction to college athletics. “I don’t know if it was the plane or not, but just going that far away with the team to do something specific was just an awesome feeling,” he said. Though his race preparation involves experimental methods of improving his aerodynamic performance, Anderson takes full advantage of lessons he has learned from his running experience. “In high school, one of my friends, when he put his spikes on and he tied them up, he slipped the laces under his shoe, and he was like, ‘it makes you go faster,’ and so I have to do that,” he said. Anderson seeks a place in Occidental’s top seven runners as the Tigers look to reclaim a SCIAC title.
Mel Devoney (Women’s Cross Country)
Mel Devoney may claim that she’s pessimistic before a race, but her negativity has yet to affect her results. Devoney made a statement in her first race as a Tiger, crossing the finish line at the UC Irvine Invite with the fastest time for a first-year (19:07.5 minutes), good enough for 12th overall and first among Occidental women. Devoney’s success might be due in part to her self-ascribed perfectionism on the course. “I’m always competing against myself just as much as I am with other people,” she said. “I really don’t like to disappoint myself, and I really don’t like to lose.” She also adheres to a strict diet and sleeping regimen before she runs. “I always have to get up really early compared to everybody else because I like to be awake for at least four to five hours before my race,” she said. “So I’m up at like, four in the morning sometimes.” Devoney conquers the grueling mental aspect of cross country with a “PMA” (Positive Mental Attitude). Once she repeats that three-word mantra in her head and listens to Lil’ Wayne, she is ready to serve as one of her team’s best runners.
Matt Munet (Men’s Water Polo)
In eighth grade, one of Matt Munet’s closest friends was convinced that Munet would be a natural water polo player and persuaded him to come to a practice. Munet jokes that he nearly drowned during his first day as he was barely able to keep his head above the water. He made the difficult decision of giving up his first-love of baseball after his sophomore year at Brea Linda High in Orange County, Calif. in order to join the aquatics program. He thought about quitting after the first couple weeks but quickly improved, and his coaches recognized that he had a powerful shot because of his baseball background. In the middle of his sophomore season, Munet was called up to varsity and became a starter his junior season. As a senior he came into his own, receiving first team all-league honors and leading his team to a 21-7 record. Although he is listed as an attacker, Munet thinks of himself as a utility player who takes advantage of his awareness and quickness to compete with larger opponents. Munet scored two goals in the Tigers’ first victory of the season on Friday against Penn State Behrend.
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