The Westfield Voice

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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

Let the Games Begin

Dave Fried
Images from Westfield State University, May 2021

The Spring 2022 sports season has begun, and the nice weather is showing its face. With Covid-19 restrictions slowly being lifted, life has started to get back to normal for everyone. Student-athletes are eager to get back on the field and finish strong in the hunt for the Howard C. Smith cup. The Howard C. Smith Cup is awarded the best overall athletics program in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference. Westfield State is currently sitting in first place in the standings with 77 points but holds a narrow lead ahead of Worcester State, which currently sits at second place with 76. The final push has begun, and let the games begin.

With teams eligible to go down to Florida again for spring training, mask restrictions being lifted, and fans returning to games, sports are genuinely back. The men’s baseball, women’s softball, and lacrosse all went south to Florida to begin their seasons, while men’s and women’s track and field and men’s golf started up back home here in Westfield.

I recently had a chance to speak with Westfield State University’s very own Athletic Director Richard Lenfest about his thoughts on the upcoming spring season.

When asked about how difficult Covid-19 has been, Lenfest stated, “This year with the vaccine and booster, we were fortunate to move through the fall and winter with limited issues. Unfortunately there wasn’t any team that wasn’t affected by Covid-19. So, I want to give credit to our student-athletes, the training staffs, sports medicine, and all of those in health care to help us get through this.”

It’s certainly been trying times, but it appears as if we were turning the tide on this battle with the Covid-19 virus.

Lenfest was asked about his thoughts on Westfield being currently in the first place. He responded, “It speaks to the consistency, and that’s what I’m proud of. I’m proud of that, proud of our student-athletes, proud of our coaches, and proud of our department.”

Lenfest was then asked about the thought of Westfield taking home the cup for 6th time in the past 8 years, saying, “That’s the goal every year. Being in contention for the cup, I think, speaks to teamwork within athletics, to the talent of student-athletes, and depth of our overall program.”

It really does take a complete effort from our teams to bring home the Howard C. Smith cup.

The Owls are a force to be reckoned inside the MASCAC and look to make us proud this 2021-2022 season. In a final question about what winning the cup would do for recruitment, Lenfest stated, “Having successful teams does impact recruiting. It’s very competitive when it comes to the entire process. It is an important market for us to try and reach out of state. When recruiting here, it’s nice to say come be a part of a program that has an opportunity to be successful and has a history of being successful.”

Westfield State University is proving that this is the place to play Division III sports due to the winning culture that has been established here. Be sure to come out and support your Owls during this spring season. Now let’s bring home the cup!

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