April 12, 2012

WD3 Notebook: Bates' Thompson Singing All The Way

by Mark Macyk | LaxMagazine.com

Bates senior attacker Lindsay Thompson, who sings the national anthem before each home game, once tried out for American Idol. "It's not what it seems on TV," Thompson said. "You don't get to meet Simon and Paula and all them. It's a huge process, it takes all day."
© Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Christina Aguilera has nothing on Bates senior Lindsay Thompson. Sure, Aguilera sang the national anthem at last year's Super Bowl, but she forgot the lyrics. And it's not like she had to play in the game afterward.

Thompson plays attack for Bates' nationally-ranked women's lacrosse team. She also sings the national anthem before every home game. And she knows all the words.

Compared to playing in the NESCAC, where eight teams rank in Division III's Top 20, remembering Francis Scott Key's lyrics are easy.

"I think I get more nervous for the games because that's what I'm there for," Thompson said. "The national anthem is just kind of built into it. What's cool is that it actually distracts me. I think every time before I sing, 'Get the right starting note.' I'm just thinking about that. It helps me play better."

Thompson's pre-game ritual began as some collegiate traditions do, as a result of peer pressure. She played on Bates' field hockey team as a freshman and her teammates soon learned of her talent.

"My friends heard that I sang and made me sing once in front of the field hockey team," Thompson said. "Then they were like, 'You should do it at our game.'"

That carried over to lacrosse. At every home game Thompson picks up a microphone before picking up her stick. There's no trash-talking from opponents when they see the singer grab her goggles and jump on the field.

"I actually have a lot of friends in the NESCAC on different teams," Thompson said. "They're all like, 'We can't wait to hear you.'"

Thompson has two goals, two assists and 12 ground balls this season and is a member of a talented senior class that has Bates looking at a NESCAC playoff spot. Thompson's classmate Joan O'Neill leads the team in goals, assists and points (34-15-49). Jenna Dannis leads the team in draw controls with 30.

Thompson has been singing before games for her class's entire collegiate career. She's been singing around the house even longer.

She started taking voice lessons in fifth grade, participated in the chorus in high school and is a member of Bates' only all-female a cappella group, the Merimanders.

Somehow Thompson finds a way to balance the three As: athletics, academics and a cappella. Bates is not only the No. 19 lacrosse team in Division III, but the No. 21 Liberal Arts College on US News & World Report's latest rankings. When does she sleep?

"It's actually pretty hard," Thompson said. "Basically I don't have night time, so I have to make use of my days. You have to balance your time well, especially with school."

She's a double major in economics and environmental science. Thompson also has a job lined up for after college at an investment consulting firm.

But that doesn't mean American Idol is out of the picture.

"Maybe in the future," Thompson said. "I actually tried out once. When I was 15. It was interesting. It's not what it seems on TV. You don't get to meet Simon and Paula and all them. It's a huge process, it takes all day."

NESCAC Race Taking Shape

Bates had its two-game NESCAC winning streak snapped in a 16-9 loss to No. 18 Hamilton on Saturday, knocking the Bobcats down to eighth place in the conference.

An eighth place finish in the 11-team league would mean a trip to the playoffs but a first round matchup against the top seed, likely No. 5 Middlebury (9-0) or No. 3 Trinity (10-0).

Trinity handed No. 8 Colby (9-1) its first loss, 11-9, on Saturday. The next day the Bantams took down last season's NCAA runner-up No. 10 Bowdoin (7-4), 13-6.

Middlebury and Trinity will square off Saturday in Vermont. The winner has the inside track at the NESCAC's No. 1 seed, however Colby still looms for Middlebury next week and Trinity still has Hamilton and Amherst on the slate.

The last time Middlebury and Trinity met -- in last season's NCAA tournament -- Trinity, which was undefeated at the time, won 10-9 in overtime.

Salisbury Surviving Gauntlet

Salisbury essentially locked up the Capital Athletic Conference on Saturday with a 16-8 victory over No. 12 York (12-3). The CAC was tougher than ever this year, but few teams were more prepared for league play than Salisbury.

The combined record of Salisbury's non-league opponents thus far is 59-26 and each one has been ranked at some point this season. The Seagulls have downed those seven opponents by an average score of 15-5.

That schedule gets even tougher on Friday when Salisbury heads to No. 6 TCNJ (11-2).

Diplomats Negotiate Big Win

One of those non-league foes boosting Salisbury's strength of schedule is Franklin & Marshall, which fell by two to the Seagulls on March 25. The seventh-ranked Diplomats scored a big non-league win of their own on Friday, winning at TCNJ, 16-12. Cat Serpe had five goals and one assists to lead F&M (11-2).

The Centennial Conference regular season crown will be on the line Wednesday, when F&M heads to No. 4 Gettysburg (11-1).

Fredonia Finding SUNYAC Success

As recently as last week, Oneonta (9-1) and Buffalo State (8-5) looked to be this year's best bets for ending Cortland's SUNYAC dominance. Fredonia (10-2) took down both squads this week, winning 13-11 over Oneonta on Saturday and 15-11 at Buff State on Wednesday.

The Blue Devils will face two more huge tests in the coming week against Brockport (7-2) on Tuesday and perennial league champion No. 2 Cortland (10-1) on March 21.

Mark Macyk has covered Division II and III women’s lacrosse for Lacrosse Magazine since 2011. He can be contacted at markmacyk@gmail.com.

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