ENC athletics has moved from the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) to the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) for the start of this new school year.
The idea of moving conferences has been brought up in previous years, but it was the administration’s decision to finalize it for the 2018-2019 year.
Coach Sacha Santimano, the Women’s Basketball head coach for seven years, believes that this move will “even the playing field.” Part of the reason for the move was that schools in the previous CCC were often much larger and had more funds than ENC. As a member of the CCC, ENC’s athletic teams also had to travel farther than they do now in the NECC.
According to Santimano, unfamiliarity with the new teams and coaches is a challenge. A lot of scouting must be done in order to prepare and be competitive. She mentions, “I’ve been watching so many films, it is nauseating.” Santimano believes, that with the exception of a couple schools, the competition will be very similar to the previous conference for Women’s Basketball.
Coach Dani Bishop, ENC’s Softball head coach since 2016, has similar feelings towards the new conference. She feels that overall the decision is good for the Athletic Department. She notes that the new conference will still be competitive. Some other challenges that come with the transition will be finding the fields because many of the new schools’ fields are not on campus. Bishop’s hopes for this move are to gain more wins for the athletic department and to engage the student body to watch more games because “fans like to watch teams that are successful.”
The new conference not only affects coaches, but it also affects players who have been in the previous conference. Seniesha Sekaquaptewa, a sophomore on the Women’s Basketball team, is excited for the Athletic Department and is looking forward to experiencing new competition. Like the coaches, she doesn’t really know what to expect from the other teams because aside from a few, she hasn’t faced them before.
The NECC is new territory for ENC’s Athletic Department, and with that comes inevitable adjustments that will need to be made for coaches and players.