The 2016 Wesleyan University fall athletic season featured several strong performances and achievements, both on the field and off it. Sixty-eight Cardinals earned New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) All-Academic and 16 were named NESCAC All-Conference.
In team sports, football, volleyball and women’s crew highlighted the fall for the Cardinals. The Wesleyan football team finished with a 6-2 overall record and claimed the Little Three title for the second time in the past four seasons, and 14th time in program history, with a 20-0 win over Amherst College and a 59-14 rout of Williams College. The 45-point margin of victory against the Ephs was the largest in the 122-game history of the rivalry.
The Cardinals boasted one of the nation’s top defenses, in which Wesleyan led the NESCAC and ranked fourth in NCAA Division III in total defense (220.6 yards per game), and led the conference and ranked seventh in the country in scoring defense (13.1 points per game). The impressive season was capped off by 13 NESCAC All-Conference selections, the second most by a Cardinals squad in the 17-year history of the all-conference teams.
A year after finishing 5-15 overall and 1-9 in the NESCAC, volleyball tripled its win total in 2016 and finished with a 15-8 record and 6-4 conference mark en route to its first conference tournament appearance since 2010. The future looks bright for a young Cardinals squad that featured just five upperclassmen (three seniors; two juniors) and 13 underclassmen (three sophomores; 10 freshman). Freshman Nicole Hilton was named a Second Team All-NESCAC selection for her stellar rookie season in which she led the conference in hitting percentage (.316). Additionally, senior co-captain Rachel Savage excelled both in the classroom and on the court, and was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District Team.
A year after earning the bronze medal in the Varsity 8 at the NCAA Division III Rowing Championships, Wesleyan women’s crew excelled this fall and won all three regattas it competed in, including the Head of the Charles Regatta in which the Varsity 8 took first out of 28 crews.
Individually, senior Will Dudek of the men’s cross country team shined this fall and qualified for the NCAA Division III Individual Cross Country Championships after placing eighth overall at the New England Regionals. He finished the 8k run with a time of 24:55.34, and ran the national meet in 25:06.3. Dudek was also named a Second Team All-NESCAC selection this fall.
In tennis action, the Wesleyan University men’s and women’s teams who have solidified themselves as two of the nation’s top programs in recent years, continued their success this fall in individual tournaments. Two-time individual national champion, Eudice Chong ’18, reached the finals of the ITA Regional Championships as the top seed before dropping a thrilling three-set match to No. 2 seeded Juli Raventos of Williams. However, Chong and teammate Victoria Yu ’19 successfully defended their title in doubles action, while seniors Michael Liu and Jake Roberts of the men’s team won the doubles title at the MIT Invitational.
Other highlights of the fall season included all-conference selections in men’s soccer as Charlie Gruner ’17 and Adam Cowie-Haskell ’18 earned first team honors. Cowie-Haskell and Garrett Hardesty ’18 were also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team.