Student Athletes Gear Up for the Season

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More students than ever participate in athletics at Bard College at Simon’s Rock

SoccerParticipation in competitive athletics has nearly doubled since the Kilpatrick Athletic Center opened in 1999. In 2010, nearly 20% of the student body competed. That level of participation is high for any college, athletics director Dave Collopy says.

One reason is the variety and quality of programming at the 58,000 square foot, state-of-the-art Kilpatrick. The Athletic Center has attracted student athletes to Simon’s Rock who see competitive sports as another way to get involved on campus and challenge themselves.

Another reason so many students compete is the strength and consistency of the coaching staff. Students gush about athletics director Bill Meier, in his 12th season coaching, and athletics director Dave Collopy, in his 12th season at Simon’s Rock. Swimmer Emma Sanger Johnson explains that while the Kilpatrick is a spectacular space, it’s the wonderful coaches and staff, “Coach Bill Meier in my case,” who shape the experience of athletics at Simon’s Rock.

“I loved swimming in the Alumni Meet last fall,” Sanger Johnson continues. “It was amazing to see previous Rockers come back to campus to swim against current students. I think the fact that they came back speaks to the experience they had as athletes at Simon's Rock, not only with other students but also with the coaches at the Athletic Center.”

For all the coaches at Simon’s Rock, it’s more about how you grow in the process of competing than whether or not you win. Athletics are part of the Active Community Engagement program (ACE), which also includes community service and health and wellness workshops. “It’s not about winning and workouts here; we teach students how to achieve balance of mind, body, and spirit,” Collopy emphasizes.

More SoccerThat also means recognizing that competitive athletics isn’t the best fit for every student. That’s why the College has made it so easy for students to create their own experience by starting an athletic student organization, such as archery, dodgeball, unicyling, or fencing. Students participate because they’re passionate about getting involved—and they have a blast doing so.

September 25th marked the start of the season for the men's Llama soccer team, against long-time rivals Landmark College. “Soccer allows me to meet people I would normally never meet. We become a close-knit group, and we're friends on and off the field,” says junior forward Jon Durfee.

Though Landmark bested the Llamas this year, Durfee remembers last season’s victory, when the Llamas defeated Landmark for the first time in ten years. “We worked hard to match up to their physical style of play, and beating them 5–2 has to be my favorite experience playing at Simon’s Rock.”

While a larger number of students are participating in competitive athletics than ever before, the facilities and programming at the College ensure that there’s something for everyone. Whether you swim, play racquetball, practice yoga, rock climb, lift weights, or work out on elliptical machines—athletics at Simon’s Rock has you covered.