Athletic Teams Gear Up for Winter Break and J-term

Amherst’s winter athletes will be hard at work over J-term both preparing for games and representing the college in competition across the country, and in some cases, around the world. We recap what the Mammoths will be up to during this holiday season.

Athletic Teams Gear Up for Winter Break and J-term
Many Mammoth practices will occur over J-term in Coolidge Cage. Photo Courtesy of Emma Spencer '22.

While much of the student body remains off-campus for winter break, Amherst’s winter athletes will be hard at work in the Pioneer Valley, both preparing for games and representing the college in competition across the country, and in some cases, around the world. Here is what the Mammoths will be up to during this holiday season:

Swim and Dive

Both the men’s and women’s swim and dive will return to campus on Dec. 29. The squad will spend two days practicing before a New Years Day meet with Union College. A week later, the Mammoths square off against Williams College on Jan. 8 before heading south for the winter.

On Jan. 10, the teams embark on their annual nine-day training trip in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Diver Hannah Colaizzo ’23 said, “I’m so excited to go to Puerto Rico because the divers train with the Puerto Rican National Team coach and it is such an essential part of our training. We learn so many new dives and it’s really great to have different feedback on our diving. It’s an incredible opportunity to bond with the team and really focus on our goals to finish out the season strong.”

The team will compete in three additional meets during the January term, facing Conn College on Jan. 22, MIT on the 29th, and Springfield College on the 30th.

Men’s Hockey

The men’s hockey team has a packed J-term, facing off against nine opponents in a 25-day span.

The action starts on Jan. 4 against Curry College, before Colby and Bowdoin come to visit on Jan. 7 and 8, respectively. Conn and Tufts will take the ice at Orr Rink on Jan. 14 and 15, before Hamilton follows on Jan. 21. For their only away games of the month, the Mammoths will head to Paxton, Mass. to face off against Anna Maria College on Jan. 22 and Wellesley for their match against Babson College on Jan. 25. The month will end with matches against Trinity and Wesleyan on Jan. 28 and 29.

Women’s Hockey

The women’s hockey team plays nearly half of their 24-game schedule in the month of January, with six home games and five away games, including a crucial string of NESCAC opponents, approaching shortly.

After celebrating the new year, the women’s hockey team will return to action on Jan. 2 and Jan. 3 with back-to-back home games against UMass Boston and Oswego State. The Mammoths will then embark on an important stretch of NESCAC games, with two away games against Conn College on Jan. 7 and Jan. 8 before a home-and-home series against Williams on Jan. 14 and 15. Following their trip to Northfield, Vt. for a game against Norwich University on Jan. 18, the Mammoths will return to Orr Rink for two home games against Trinity on Jan. 22 and Jan. 23. They will close out the month with a home-and-home series against Wesleyan on Jan. 28 and Jan. 29.

Men’s Basketball

Men’s basketball will return to campus on Dec. 26, and will start practice shortly thereafter, with their first scheduled for the same day they arrive. After another day of practice, the team will travel out to Long Island, N.Y. to take on SUNY Old Westbury on Dec. 28 before returning home to face local foe Babson College on the 31st to close out 2021. Their schedule concludes with bouts against NESCAC competition, traveling to Middlebury on Jan. 2 and hosting Little Three rival Wesleyan the next day, Jan. 3.

After what is hopefully a fast start to conference play, the team’s J-term schedule begins, with just as many big games. The Mammoths will start a four-game homestand shortly after J-term begins, hosting games on Jan. 11 against Lesley University, Bates on Jan. 14, Tufts on Jan. 15, and archrival Williams on Jan. 19. This homestand will be followed by a three-game road trip to close out the month, taking trips to Clinton, N.Y. on Jan. 22 to face Hamilton College, New York City on Jan. 23 to take on Pratt Institute, and Middletown, Conn. on Jan. 28 for a rematch with the Wesleyan.

Women’s Basketball

Women’s basketball will return to campus on Dec. 26, starting practice that afternoon in preparation for their New Year’s Weekend games. The team will then pack their bags and fly to Las Vegas the next day, practicing one more time before taking the court in the Las Vegas Tournament on Dec. 28. In the competitive tournament, the Mammoths will face off against Whittier College and Occidental College on back-to-back days (Dec. 28 and 29). Their busy weekend will continue with the team taking another travel day on Dec. 30 to drive from Vegas to Los Angeles, where they will take on Chapman University on New Year’s Eve and the University of the Redlands on Jan. 1.

Guard Reeya Patel ’24 explained the team’s goals for the tournament and their start to the season. “I feel like our team is very happy with the way we are going into [winter] break 7-0, however this is just the start. Playing teams on the West Coast will be fun, as we are competing against teams we wouldn’t necessarily compete against in the northeast. It will also be a nice way to relax and continue bonding with the team.”

The team will return home from their trip out west and begin NESCAC play with bitter foe Middlebury on Jan. 7 and archrival Williams and Jan. 8, respectively. After a quick trip down to New York to play Lehman College on Jan. 10, the team will travel north for NESCAC competition versus Bates on Jan. 14th and Tufts on Jan. 15, before hosting Hamilton on Jan. 22. They will close out their slate of J-term games with contests at Babson College and at home vs. Wesleyan on Jan. 25 and Jan. 28.


Members of the men’s and women’s squash teams will begin J-term practices on Jan. 3, before playing identical schedules throughout the month. The athletes are eager for a month to focus only on improving at their sport. “J-term is my favorite time of the year because it’s just playing sports and hanging out with your team without the added pressures and time constraints of school,” Rohil Bathija ’23 said.

The action kicks off when the Mammoths will host Dartmouth on Jan. 8 at the Davenport Squash Courts. On Jan. 11, the squads will embark on a three-day road trip to Maine where they face Bowdoin, Colby, and Bates. Over Jan. 15 and 16, Amherst will host the Pioneer Valley Invitational, facing off against St. Lawrence University, Franklin and Marshall College, and Hamilton. Middlebury will come to visit on Jan. 19, before the team heads to Boston to square off against Tufts University and Harvard University on Jan. 22 and 23. To close off J-term, Wesleyan hosts the Little III tournament as the Mammoths will look to squash Wesleyan and Williams.