Peter Baum has had a busy week. This morning, he was named one of the finalists for the Tewaaraton. On Saturday, he visits UMass as Colgate plays in the NCAA Tournament. And now, he's chatting with fans live on ESPN. Fire away your questions to the Portland, Ore., native here. We'll get this going in just a moment...
Peter- Congrats on making it into the NCAA tourney. What was your biggest take-away from the Patriot League Finals with Lehigh?
Thanks for the congratulations! Well the Lehigh game was a very hard fought, up and down game that I think most of the fans who saw it would say they really enjoyed. We were certainly very disappointed to have lost on such a big important stage, but we were very proud of the way we dug ourselves out of several five goal deficits in that game to make it close. We have great confidence in our ability to come back and not panic when we are trailing.
The Colgate sideline is one of the most animated in college sports. What does your teammates' enthusiasm mean to you as an on-field contributor?
Thanks for the question Montgomery. I think we have the best sideline in sports, and scoring a goal and looking over there and seeing the guys going nuts is a huge motivator. Guys like Ben Shapiro, Denis Brown, Will Manning, and Colby Wilson really get it going with the air guitars and the simulated air strikes. Those guys push us all week in practice and it makes all the difference on game day.
do you think the Patriot League gets the respect it should by the Baltimore/ACC centric press? Do you think Colgate or Lehigh has the game to go deep into the playoffs?
I think this year the Patriot League has really made it difficult for the media to ignore the talent level in the league. With four teams in the top 20 for much of the season, and two in the top 10 now, it is a terrific league with a lot of talented teams. I think both Lehigh and ourselves have a great opportunity in front of us to make some noise in the playoffs, and I am sure they are just as excited as we are.
Can you talk a little about the Colgate campus? Do the B&G guys do a good job?
Thanks for the great question Larry. The Colgate campus has numerous times been voted the most beautiful campus in America, and there is no doubt that the B&G guys get the job done better than anyone else in the business. Having spent time volunteering with some Jim work, I can speak first hand to their outstanding talent and hard work, it really shows, and we are very proud of our campus!
Hey, are east coast guys legit or is it only a matter of time before west coast dominates this sport?
I think the game is just growing so fast that soon lacrosse teams will be littered with guys from all over the country. I am very proud to be a player coming from the West Coast, but I wouldn't say the East Coast needs to worry about being "dominated" just yet.
Just curious but what's your stick set up?
I have been using a couple of blue Warrior Evo X's this year, strung by my former high school teammate Michael Marcott from Portland, or by our offensive assistant, Coach Abbott. I also use an unusual 1Lacrosse shaft with a barbed wire pattern and this rubbery grip, I am a big fan of the grip. I like a decent amount of whip, but not too much, maybe a 7.
Any favorite tips for teaching the attack position to 6th grade boys?
Great question Will! I think the biggest tip when you're young is to spend as much time as you can hitting the wall and shooting outside of practice/games. That's what has made me the player I am today. I love spending time with my friends just shooting or having a catch, and the better your stick skills are (with both hands) the further you will go!
Coach Murphy reinstated the lifting program. How do you think this has affected your game?
I think getting back into the weight room three times a week has made a huge difference in my game. Whereas in the past we spent all of our time running to nearby towns and back in the rain, we now spend it doing a very well constructed strength and conditioning program. I think getting stronger and more durable has really allowed me to have some extra power in my game, and also avoid injuries.
Who has the best nickname on your team?
Well Conor that's a great question, there are some good ones for sure. Ben Shapir-glee (because he runs on pure glee) is a good one, also Parker Weinstock has an excellent one, as do some other guys, but the king is definitely faceoff specialist Rob Grabher. His nicknames include Grabestar, Grabil (as in Rabil), and Papa Panic.
Who's your favorite professional lacrosse player?
I would have to say my favorite professional player right now is unquestionably our assistant coach and former Syracuse University star, Matt Abbott. Great "right arm" cellies for du bois, and he is just such an incredible two way midfielder, can really do it all.
Who are your best friends on the team?
My best friends on the team would have to be Brendon McCann and Ryan Walsh. Besides that, everyone in my class, Ryan Collins, Matt Baker... the list goes on...
Peter do you think the stellar scout team with premiere players like Dennis Brown has aided your teams success this season?
The scout team does an incredible job of getting us prepared each week. That has been a big point of emphasis this year, is on really trying to simulate what our opponent is going to do all week in practice both offensively and defensively. I think we are prepared so well every week by our scout team guys and it makes a huge difference. Also, it is a lot of fun to watch our teammates emulate other team's guys, they do a fantastic job making our d guys trip on the net at X
Is it true that your girlfriend is a better athlete than you are?
Jim, my girlfriend is an unbelievable athlete and a very talented soccer player. I am very proud of her accomplishments. Thanks for that question.
Who's the best looking guy on your team?
Well it used to be Kyle Stanich, aka Casual Cali, from Los Angeles. But as of this year I would say it is a tie between upstate NY native Aaron Darr and the freshman heart throb Matt Clarkson from Garden City. Some might beg to differ, but I think that's where the consensus lies.
Obviously you are very talented at lacrosse. But what else do you do besides lax and school?
While at Colgate, I would say playing lacrosse and school work take a vast majority of my time. That said, I love just hanging out with my friends, playing FIFA, going fishing, lifting weights with Justin Kirchner, I am a pretty low key person outside of school and lacrosse.
If you had to vote for one of the other finalists who would it be and why?
That's a great question, and all four are tremendous lacrosse players having outstanding seasons. I think my favorite player to watch of the group is C.J. Costabile, what he does from the long stick midfield position, winning faceoffs, playing defense, getting groundballs, sparking transition, I think he brings so much to the table and means a great deal to a very talented team.
A lot has been made about this twitter account @pete4tewaaraton. Who runs it for you? Is it you?
I wish I could tell you who runs it, but I have no idea, and none of my friends will tell me, so it is a big mystery. I feel very fortunate to have people that support me so much, and am so very honored to have been named a finalist for the award.
Peter, what's the biggest difference from last years team who was on the bubble and didn't make the tourny and this years team?
That is a great question, and i think the biggest difference has been our style of play. All year we have had a tremendous offense, capable of scoring over 13 goals per game, and that puts us in a great position to win games. Where in the past we would have to hold teams to under 10 to win, now we have a little bit more room for error. Our faceoff/transition game has also been huge, and our d guys like Kevin Boyle, Bobby Lawrence, and Jimmy Queeney get the ball off the ground so quickly, so we score a ton of goals that way.
Who has the best low-to-high shot on your team?
Unquestionably the best low to high shot goes to freshman Ryan Walsh, he has an unbelievable lefty cannon, and is a huge weapon for us. Honorable mention goes to Denis Brown, best warm up player of all time probably.
I noticed you and your teammates celebrate goals by putting your right arm in the air.. can you explain the phenomenon behind this and its spread to the MLL with players like Matt Abbott using it as well?
The "right arm" is a big thing on our team. I think it began with Canadian Mike Thomas, and he sort of brought it to the team. It is definitely a great celly, and Coach Matt Abbott has caught on to the magic.
when did you realize you were capable of playing Division 1 lacrosse
I had always dreamed of playing lacrosse in college, but didn't realize I could play division 1 until the summer after my sophomore year of high school, when I started receiving recruiting letters. Being out west in Portland, you're a little shielded from the lacrosse world, so it definitely didn't hit me until later than some other guys maybe.
PB,Kudos to a superb season, but now the real season begins. Glad to see Colgate up against UMass in the first round, I see the Raiders outworking the Minutemen for the pass to Round two. The past two seasons we've seen Colgate Lax emerge as a contender to go deep in the post-season and even for a D1 title shot, what do you think the turning point was from your freshman year until now to see such a positive transition, individually and as a unit?Congrats on the Tewaaraton nod, and all the best this weekend.Cheers.
Thanks for all the support! I think from my freshman season to now the game has just really slowed down for me, and I'm able to just rely on my athleticism, see the field, and make plays. My assist totals have really gone up, from 1 in my freshman season to 29 now, so that is what I'm most proud of. My teammates this season have an incredible amount of talent, and our chemistry with each other and the new coaching staff has been great, and those things have allowed us to be so successful.
Pete congrat's on great season.What would you tell a high school lax player who is looking to play D1 and get a great education .Why should take look at Colgate as place to go to school
Colgate has an excellent balance of top-tier academics, with a great lacrosse program. The education I have gotten here has been really enjoyable, and the campus is absolutely stunning. On the lacrosse side, Colgate has an unbelievable new coaching staff, and this year has been the most fun I have ever had. If you as a player are looking for somewhere to get the full college experience and play high quality lacrosse, Colgate is an awesome place to do that.
What part of your game needs the most improvement?
Great question. I think the biggest area my game can improve is still my feeding. I have had a better season assist wise with 29, but I still have so much room to grow in that area to be at the level of an elite distributor. I work every day on improving my vision and field sense, and it's helped a lot, but I still have a ways to go.
What was it like growing up playing lacrosse in Oregon? Do all high schools in your area haves lax program?
Lacrosse in Oregon is growing incredibly quickly. I think when I was in high school there were around 55 programs in the state, and now there are maybe 70. The support out there is great, with coaches like Ryan Powell living full time in the Portland area, that has helped grow the game. I was fortunate enough to have some very talented high school teammates like Patrick Rogers (Denver), Aaron Prosser (Drexel), and Henry Schoonmaker (Syracuse) that made for a very talented team for a place like Oregon.
Colgate has proven to be one of if not the best offensive units in the country..What do you credit for making the offence click, having everyone involved, and getting you the ball when you need it..With your team's ball movement, I don't see anyone, even UMASS, slowing you down! Saw Gate last week vs. MD..great win..keep it up!!
Thanks Bobby! Our new coaching staff, especially Coach Mike Abbott, have just done an amazing job of putting in an offensive system that allows us to play aggressive and freely, without worrying so much about making mistakes. The talent on our offense is fantastic, with guys like Ryan Walsh, Jeff Ledwick, Matt Baker, Brendon McCann, etc. and we all have bought into the system very well. As I have said, our transition play, starting with Robbie Grabher at faceoffs, and some of our d guys, has been huge as well.
We're going to wrap it up here with the ESPN live chat, but not before putting Pete on the spot a little bit. Pete, what's your prediction for this weekend vs. UMass?
Haha well I think we are very confident going into the UMass game, as I'm sure they are as well. Coach Murphy and the staff have done a great job of getting us prepared, and that's all we can do, just be prepared and try to leave it on the field on Saturday. I'm not one to predict the outcome of games, so I'll just say it will be a very fast paced, track meet style game that you won't wanna miss!
Thanks, Pete and thanks everyone for participating!