There’s a little hesitation in Carylanne Wolfington’s voice when asked about her height.
“Umm, almost 5-7,” she says.
Wolfington’s height, or lack of it, is relevant because she plays power forward for the Colby College women’s basketball team. The freshman and Hall-Dale High School graduate moved into the starting lineup when a teammate got injured early in the season and she’s stayed there ever since.
“I had no idea I’d be starting,” said Wolfington, who averages 7.5 points and a team-leading 6.1 rebounds a game. “It was a big surprise.”
Six-foot-4 opponents are rare on Colby’s Division III schedule but there are plenty of 6-1 and 6-2 women playing in the paint and Wolfington often ends up defending against them. She plays in front of them and when a shot goes up works hard to get between them and the basket to grab rebounds.
“I just box people out,” she said. “I think playing the 4 gives me a lot more opportunity to get rebounds,”
Wolfington’s no wimpy 5-7 forward. She’s a strong, athletic player who caught the eye of Colby coach Julie Veilleux during her senior year at Hall-Dale. Although Veilleux never envisioned her playing underneath the basket, she saw a player she wanted on her team.
“I saw that determination and hustle so I knew good things were ahead of her,” Veilleux said.
Wolfington was an outstanding three-sport athlete at Hall-Dale, excelling in soccer, basketball and softball. A power-hitting catcher, she was recruited to play softball at Colby and looks forward to joining the team this spring. Basketball has been a passion as well. She led the team to a Class C state championship her junior year and last season the Bulldogs came up a point short in the title game.
The adjustment to the college game was difficult at first with a far steeper learning curve.
“At first the wheels were spinning,” Veilleux said.
Wolfington’s beginning to find a comfort zone at both ends of the floor and learning her own team’s plays as well as her opponent’s.
“There’s so many more plays,” Wolfington said. “It was really hard at first. I feel like I’m learning so much about basketball. (Coach Veilleux) explains why this play would work against this kind of defense. I never thought of that before.”
On offense, Wolfington’s mirrors what she did in high school if on a somewhat smaller scale. She’s made 11 of 30 3-point attempts, but her forte is taking the ball to the basket. She’s gained a little more poise and is finishing better than she did a year ago and Veilleux would like to see her take the ball to the hoop more often.
All this is underscored by Wolfington’s competitiveness. Veilleux said she recruits players who can play defense and if they can score it’s an added bonus. Wolfington fits that description on both counts.
“She has a heart for the defensive end,” Veilleux said. “If someone’s a very good rebounder it comes down to desire. Carylanne has strength on her side and agility, but she has that desire.”
The Mules are 6-8 following weekend losses against Bates and Tufts. They’re fairly young with the exception of three senior guards. Wolfington could move into one of those open spots next season.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” she said. “(Coach Veilleux) talked to me and said playing (the 4) will be good for me later because I’m probably going to be a guard and I can post up people.”
No matter what happens, Wolfington is happy with her decision to attend college just 20 miles from her home in Hallowell.
“It’s exceeded my expectations,” she said. “I really like it a lot.”
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638