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Calling the Shots

Calling the ShotsAce senior shot putter Paula Dormon is also the lead vocalist of one of the hottest R&B bands at Tufts.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [01.29.09] Senior economics major Paula Dormon is successfully competitive in two arenas as a Tufts University student. As a member of the women's track & field team, she's been Coach Kristen Morwick's best shot putter since her first season in 2005. As lead vocalist for the Tufts hip hop and R&B band FunkSoulLove, she performs with a group that won the Tufts "Battle of the Bands" last year.

Though smaller in stature than most collegiate throwers, Dormon has been among the best in New England throughout her career. She has scored (top eight) for the Jumbos in the shot put at every New England Division III Championship meet indoors and outdoors. Her personal best of 41'8 1/2" came during the Outdoor New England's in 2006, and she's been a team leader ever since. Dormon has also competed in weight throw, javelin, discus, hammer throw and has even ran in the 55-meter dash, 100 meters and with the 4x100-meter relay. "She's a pretty explosive athlete," Morwick said.

As the best band at Tufts last year, FunkSoulLove was given the opening slot at the annual Tufts Spring Fling concert. The band was part of a bill that was headlined by The Dropkick Murphys and Common.

Between practicing with the track & field team, which is currently busy in its indoor season, and practicing with the band, which is preparing to defend its Tufts title, Paula recently took some time out of her schedule to let the Tufts Athletics website put her In Focus:

You're relatively small in size for a thrower. What have been the keys to you successfully competing against bigger women in the throwing events?

PD: Even though most of the women are relatively bigger than me, I know that it can only take them so far. When it comes to the shot put and the weight throw, it is mostly about technique and your speed across the throwing circle, and Coach (Lisa) Wallin is working with me to help me become the thrower she knows and I know I can be.

Your younger brother David is a sophomore at Tufts, a member of the football and track & field teams and the band's lyricist. What's the best thing about having your brother at Tufts with you? What's the worst part of it?

PD: It is actually great having my brother at Tufts. The best thing about having him here is that I can help him avoid the mistakes that I made at the beginning of my Tufts career, whether it is picking the right classes for distribution requirement or showing him how to manage his time between school and sports. I guess the bad part of having him here is that I am finally realizing that he is cooler than me.

Tell us more about the band and what's coming up for FunkSoulLove?

PD: We play all original songs and have been doing well since we started. The band also consists of bassist and songwriter Tim Suby and drummer and producer Zach Camara. Last summer we played different venues in and around Boston, including Johnny D's and the Middle East. We are now in another battle, a Boston-wide Collegiate Battle of the Bands, Rockus, where the winning Tufts band, which will be known February 27 at Tommy Doyle's in Harvard Square, will compete against bands from various colleges in the Boston area, so we are pretty excited about that.

What attracted you to Tufts out of Brockton, MA/Tabor Academy and what are some of the things about the university besides being on the track & field team that you've enjoyed most during your time here?

PD: I really liked the Tufts campus and the location of school. I had already gone to a boarding school in the middle of nowhere, but at the same time, I did not want to be in the city, so Tufts was the perfect place for me. My older brother (James) also went here before me, and he only had good things to say about Tufts. The things I enjoy most about Tufts are my classes, my friends and the food. The Ghana Gold Colloquium is one course I am very glad I took at Tufts. The people I have met at Tufts are irreplaceable. And the Dewick Dining Hall is something I will truly miss.

What are your post-graduate plans at this time?

PD: After I graduate I plan on working for a couple years, then I will apply to business school and hopefully receive my M.B.A.

Dormon and the rest of the Tufts University women's track & field team will host the second Tufts Invitational of the indoor season at the Gantcher Center this Saturday (Jan. 31). Later in the season, Coach Morwick's team will defend the New England Division III indoor title on February 20-21 at Bowdoin College. One week later on February 27 at Tommy Doyle's, FunkSoulLove will defend their best Tufts band title. Be sure to support all four Tufts bands as they battle to see who's best. Go to http://www.wmfo.org/ for more information.

This story originally ran on the Tufts Athletics website on Jan. 27, 2009.

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