Feature

The Brown Bears Bring Exciting Sports Action to the East Side

From basketball and hockey to fencing and squash, Brown's teams are keeping College Hill exciting

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URI and Providence College get the lion’s share of attention from Rhode Island college sports fans, but the Brown Bears also play in NCAA Division I and compete in a variety of sports in the Ivy League and the Eastern College Athletic Conference. Hockey and basketball are the big winter sports, of course, but Brown also fields teams in everything from gymnastics to squash. Home games are intimate, family friendly, open to the general public and – far from the elite reputation of the Ivy League – mostly free of charge.

“The entire Rhode Island community comes out to watch Brown athletics,” says Christopher Humm, director of athletics communications at Brown. “We’re nationally competitive in virtually every sport.”

Most events are held either at the Paul Bailey Pizzitola Memorial Sports Center or the adjacent Meehan Auditorium, both part of the Erickson Sports Complex on the corner of Hope Street and Lloyd Street. For a full schedule of games and matches, visit BrownBears.com

Men’s Basketball
Games played at: Pizzitola Sports Center
Admission: $7-10 per person

The first Brown men’s basketball game was played on February 17, 1901 at the school’s Lyman Hall (now home of the Leeds Theatre and part of the Catherine Bryan Dill Center for the Performing Arts); Brown beat Holy Cross in that game, 29-10. There’s considerably more scoring nowadays, and the Bears got off to their best start since 1935 in league play this season. Standout forward Steven Spieth (brother of top-ranked golfer Jordan Spieth) leads Brown in search of their first Ivy League title since 1986.

Women’s Basketball
Games played at: Pizzitola Sports Center
Admission: $7-10 per person

Third-year coach Sarah Behn has her squad off to a winning record in 2016-17, and sophomore guard Shayna Mehta, the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Year, is expected to be one of the top players in the league again this season.

Men’s Ice Hockey
Games played at: Meehan Auditorium
Admission: $7-10 per person

The Bears, who first took the ice in 1897, have sent a surprising number of alums to the National Hockey League, including current Anaheim Ducks left wing Ryan Garbutt (draft class of 2009) and Nick Lappin (class of 2016), now a rookie right wing with the New Jersey Devils. The 2016-17 team features NHL draft pick and leading scorer Tommy Marchand and is coached by Brown hockey alum Brendan Whittet, an East Providence native. Brown will host the NCAA East Regionals at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center March 24-25, although a rough start may hinder the Bears’ chances of getting on the ice for that.

Women’s Ice Hockey
Games played at: Meehan Auditorium
Admission: $7-10 per person

Coach Bob Kenneally, a former Bears skater, hopes to turn around a program that’s been struggling in recent years. Hope for the future is embodied in freshman forward Alley Rempe, named ECAC Rookie of the Week after a six-point effort against Sacred Heart in October. “In two years this will be one of the top programs in the country,” predicts Humm.

Men’s and Women’s Fencing
Meets held at: Olney-Margolies Athletic Center
Admission: Free

Electronic scoring keeps spectators in the loop on this ancient sport; both the men and women compete in epee, saber and foil. Brown hosts the Northeast Fencing Conference Meet on the last weekend of January.

Men’s and Women’s Track and Field
Meets held at: Olney-Margolies Athletic Center
Admission: Free

Winter indoor track and field meets are held in the Joseph Olney-Moe Athletic Center (OMAC), with Brown athletes competing in sprints, middle- and long-distance running; high jump and pole vault; and javelin and shot put. Former Olympic javelin thrower Craig Kinsley is an assistant coach for the Bears men’s team.

Men’s and Women’s Squash

Matches held at: Pizzitola Sports Center, Kate Brodsky Memorial Squash Pavilion
Admission: Free

Stuart le Gassick has coached the men’s and women’s squash teams for a quarter-century, so no surprise that both squads are perennially ranked in the top 20 nationally each year (this season, the women are ranked 12th, the men 16th). Teams play nine matches in competition, with each athlete competing in best-of-five games.

Women’s Skiing

Meets held at: Ski areas across the Northeast
Admission: Free

New coach Alex Norden will guide the Brown women’s ski team down the slopes this winter; the season is capped by the US Collegiate Ski Conference eastern regionals, held February 18-19 at West Mountain in Queesnbury, NY.

Men’s Wrestling
Meets held at: Pizzitola Sports Center
Admission: Free

Brown wrestling typically draws sellout crowds several times a year for big matches; Bears wrestlers compete in ten weight classes, and the current squad is led by co-captain and returning NCAA conference qualifier senior Steven Galiardo, who wrestles at 149 pounds.

Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse

Games held at: Stevenson Field
Admission: Free

Although not technically a winter sport, both the Brown men’s and women’s lacrosse teams begin competition in February at Stevenson Field (outdoors, brrrr), part of the Erickson Sports Complex. The men’s attack is led by Dylan Molloy, winner of the Tewaaraton Award as the top NCAA lacrosse player in the country – equivalent to football’s Heisman Trophy. The Bears’ 2017 men’s team is coming off a tough overtime loss in the NCAA lacrosse Final Four, while the women’s team returns a pair of All-Ivy players, senior Kerianne Hunt and junior Marissa Hudgins.