The NESCAC is brimming with talented student-athletes and the "Friday Feature" is a way for fans to get to know them throughout the academic year. The conference introduces Colby's Sage Bailin. Sage, the reigning NESCAC 400-meter hurdle champion, did a term project which used statistics to analyze the NFL Draft Combine.
Sage Bailin, Colby College
Sophomore, Track & Field
Amherst, Mass./Amherst High School
Major: Mathematical Sciences
Why did you choose to be a Division III student-athlete?
I had a late start as a track and field athlete and was relatively inexperienced. From age 3 to age 18, the only sport I played was soccer. I started running track my senior spring of high school because I wasn’t planning on playing college soccer and wanted to try something new. A couple friends on the team thought I was pretty fast and my brother (then in his first year) was doing it, so I decided to give it a shot. I ended up being good at it and wanted to continue my career in college, so I contacted the coach and walked onto the team at Colby.
Which academic/extracurricular/community service project that you have been a part of has been the most rewarding? Why?
For the past two summers, I have worked as a counselor at a summer camp in my hometown of Amherst. This has been, without a doubt, one of my most rewarding experiences. It isn’t always easy, but I love working with kids and seeing kids from so many different backgrounds come together and interact in a large group. There is never a dull moment in camp. The energy the kids bring to the group every day is infectious and it really makes you appreciate every moment.
Who is your favorite professor? Why?
My favorite professor at Colby has been Dan Cohen of the philosophy department. I have taken two courses with him - introduction and advanced logic, and argumentation. The subject matter, along with his methodical way of teaching, really connects with the way I think about things. All of my professors are very knowledgeable, but Professor Cohen really exudes a passion for his subject whether in or outside of class. His classes are a large part of what has led me to choose a minor in philosophy.
What has been the most interesting part of your major so far?
Last semester, in a statistics class, our term project was a statistical analysis on a topic of our choice. A big interest of mine is sports analytics, a field I would love to land a job in someday. I did a statistical analysis comparing the effectiveness of various NFL Combine metrics as predictors of draft position and player performance in the league. It was quite rewarding to carry out the types of analyses I often read about on analytics websites and are used in front offices.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned from being a student-athlete?
My coach loves to say, “the best thing about work is it only asks for a little bit more.” In this vein, being a student-athlete has taught me how to really dedicate myself to becoming the best I can possibly be, both in the classroom and on the track, which is something I lacked the discipline to do in high school academics or athletics. I have also thought more about my health. I am also thinking about how much sleep I get at night, both for its health and performance benefits academically and athletically.
If someone made a movie about your team, who would play your coach? Why?
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. This could actually apply to a couple of our coaches, but I’ll go with "The Rock" for Coach Cusano since he is my event group coach. He, like Johnson, played college football and pro football internationally, and is quite strong. He is an amazing leader who can be quite intense, but also has a soft spot. Many of our other coaches are also quite strong, and could be “Rocks” in their own right. It is rumored that Coach Beers could one-hand snatch 150 lbs and Coach Hunter could squat over 500 lbs.
What is your favorite place on your campus and why?
As many people may know, Maine is quite cold. Not being a lover of cold weather, I try to seek out the warmest places on campus during the chilly winter months. On the way to practice each morning, Jimmy O’Donnell, my good friend and teammate, and I take a shortcut through the senior apartment complex to get to his car. The area between the two sets of front doors to the building, albeit only around 20 square feet, is undoubtedly one of the warmest places on campus. I try to shelter there for as long as possible before venturing back out to brave the elements.
What is something interesting about you that others might not know?
One interesting thing people might not know about me is that my dad had to teach me how to jump. When I was a few years old, my parents enrolled me in gymnastics and dance classes and people noticed that when all of the other kids jumped, I wasn’t quite able to make it off the ground. I was so uncoordinated that I couldn’t quite put all of the movements together in the right way to complete a successful jump. My dad broke it down for me step-by-step, until I could finally get up in the air. Now I can hurdle, dunk a basketball, and high-jump over my own height, although I still can’t really do gymnastics or dance very well.